Insects are one of the world’s oldest and most diverse groups of organisms on the planet.
Yet, most people find them gross but also quite scary.
Probably because we’re creeped out not only by how they look but also because many of these bugs sting, bite, and carry all kinds of pathogens.
Here are some horrifying facts about 6 of the most dangerous insects out there that can keep you up at night!
Human Bot Fly
The first terrifying bug is the bot fly.
This parasitic insect is well known from the horror stories of infested people.
Found primarily in Central and South America, it has a lifespan of 20-60 days. The female deposits up to 300 eggs, laying on insects like mosquitoes or horseflies.
These carriers then contact people and transfer the eggs onto the human skin. Once that happens, the body temperature heats the eggs, and then they hatch.
And the scary part is once they do that, the larvae dig themselves inside the human skin and begin feeding on it.
There are several methods used to remove fly larvae.
The most popular is to apply a topical anaesthetic and then use forceps to remove the larvae or to use a venom extractor syringe to suck it out of the skin directly.
Sleep well tonight!
Army or Soldier Ant
This type of insect originates in the Amazon Basin (like pretty much anything scary).
There are many subfamilies of that species, but the army ants are the most popular. They are huge, reaching half an inch in length (1,2 centimetres).
Here comes the scary stuff.
They also have strong machete-like jaws, making up half the ant’s length, which means they’re born ready for combat, as they can kill up to 100 000 insects in a single day.
When they go out seeking food, they do so in large numbers and cover a large area, creating a trail over 65 feet wide and 320 feet long.
The most interesting fact about these insects is that they are completely blind, yet they can literally dismantle any living thing that crosses their path.
They are called army ants because their colony consists of over one million insects. They bivouac down in a single place while the new eggs hatch and don’t make permanent hives like the other ants.
These are probably the biggest pests that ever existed and are concentrated in Europe, North Africa, and Asia Minor.
However, they can be found all over the globe. For example, the warm climate in Australia keeps these wasps active all year long, while in other countries with clearly defined seasons, they are dormant all winter.
European wasps are social wasps, and they are incredibly aggressive. They can sting multiple times, and they are not afraid of people.
Their venom, although not poisonous, can cause allergic reactions, which makes them highly dangerous. Usually, a cold pack is applied once the sting’s removed, but if you notice a more severe reaction, seek medical help immediately.
If you notice a nest nearby, it’s highly recommended that you do not try to remove it yourself but call a professional pest control company instead.
Japanese Giant Hornet
If you thought Stephen King’s novels were scary, wait until you hear about the Japanese hornet.
That is one huge insect, but that’s far from the scariest thing about it. Its attack sprays flesh-eating poison into your eyes.
And to make matters worse, the poison contains a pheromone cocktail that alerts every hornet in the hive to come and pick on you.
That horrible experience continues until, for lack of better words, you are no longer alive. That’s where they get their other name: “murder hornet”.
And just FYI, these insects fly fifty miles (80 kilometres) per hour, so you can’t outrun them.Your best bet if you notice a Japanese giant hornet nest is to leave the area calmly.
Africanized Honey Bee
Africanized bees, or killer bees, as they are more commonly known, live in Central and South America.
There is no physical difference between the common European bee and an Africanized bee.
The only difference is in their behaviour.
Regular bees will give you about nine seconds before attacking you. You can walk past them, but if you do get them after you, they will chase you for about 300 feet (100 meters).
On the other hand, Africanized bees give you only half a second to get away from them before hundreds or thousands of them attack you. And when you run, they will pursue you for over half a mile (800 meters).
They also sense threats from up to 50 feet from their nest and frequently swarm to form new nests.
The good news is that they can sting only once.
The bullet ant sting feels like getting shot, hence the catchy name.
They live in Rainforests from Nicaragua to Paraguay and are one of the largest of its own species in the world.
These insects live in trees and can fall on you to scare you, hence protecting their hives. But before they do that, bullet ants will shriek at you.
Yes, bullets ants can shriek.
Let that sink in.
What’s even worse is maybe the Amazonian tribe of Mawé’s gruelling initiation ritual for young warriors. They must endure several simultaneous bites from bullet ants while at the same time keeping a straight face.
And they have to do that about 20 times before they’d be considered a true Mawé warrior.
Because bullet ant venom is so potent, leading research laboratories have been trying to weaponise it as a natural pesticide.
Another horrifying fact is that they have their very own parasite.
As bullet ants will often fight for food with other bullet ant colonies, the pheromones released by these injured ants attract the phorid flies, which then lay their eggs inside the wound.
The worker falls down, stunned, and eventually returns to the colony, where it dies, his body then serving as a food source for the growing maggots.
Nature can indeed be scary.
Now that you know more about the 6 most horrifying bugs out there, you can share the horror with your friends because they need to know all about them too.