You might be perceiving insects as those tiny creatures that are of no harm to you. But it turns out to be that they are one of the most venomous creatures on earth. An insect as small as an ant, in fact, has the capacity to kill human beings. They aren’t as cute as they appear to be. Most deadly of insects are spiders, ants, and wasps. Though bee looks good and honey is tasty, bee sting could be fatal. Listed in here are 12 such insects which are considered the most venomous in the world. Read and watch out for them the next time.
Afrur, scientifically classified as Holotrichius innesi is a killer bug. It is found mainly in the countries of Middle East. The name ‘Afrur’ comes from Hebrew and means dirt. The insect has a weird habit of covering itself with dirt. When touched, this insect produces a wavering amount of stridulating sounds in double beats. They are also called as kissing bugs. Holotrichius innesi are even able to kill vertebrates by a single envenomation, which induces respiratory paralysis. The toxins present in these insects are neurotoxins and affects the brain and nervous system. The venom of predaceous species is not only used to digest prey but for defense.
Lonomia is a kind of cryptic moth that is found in South America. Though the adult moths are not that problematic, the caterpillars are highly venomous. Normally, envenomation event includes an individual unknowingly leaning against, placing their hand on, or rubbing their arm against a group of these caterpillars that are gathered on the trunk of a tree. A dose of venom from multiple caterpillars could be severe causing hemorrhage, renal failure, and hemolysis. The resulting medical syndrome is sometimes called Lonomiasis. The venom enters through the bristles of the caterpillar and since there is only a small amount of venom in the bristles the rate of human fatality is only 1.7%.
3. Southern Flannel Moth or Puss Caterpillar
Southern Flannel moth, scientifically called Megalopyge opercularis is a variety of moth that belongs to the family Megalopygidae. It is known by other names such as asp, Italian asp, wooly slug, opossum bug, puss moth, or asp caterpillar for its larval form. The caterpillar is considered to be deadly because of the venom in its spines. Contact with the caterpillar’s fur-like spines will soon be followed by a skin irritation. The pain caused by them is similar to that of a broken bone. The reactions are sometimes localized to the affected area but are often very severe, radiating up a limb and causing burning, swelling, nausea, headache, abdominal distress, rashes, blisters and sometimes chest pain, numbness, or difficulty in breathing.
4. Saddleback Caterpillar
The larvae of a slug moth species native to North America, the saddleback caterpillar is similar to puss caterpillar. It is mainly green in color with brown color at either end and a major white ringed dot at the center which resembles that of a saddle. This is how the caterpillar was named saddleback caterpillar. It has a pair of muscular horns at both ends and the entire body is covered by hairs or furs that ooze out an irritating venom. Once an individual touches the hair it causes a painful swollen rash and sometimes causes nausea in humans. If in case a contact with the fur occurs, the hair particles shall be removed immediately to avoid pain.
5. Giant Japanese or Asian Hornet
Asian hornet also referred to as the Giant Japanese hornet because of its size, can attain a length of 3 inches when fully grown. The sting of these hornets is fatal and lethal. It not only is venomous but also causes allergic reactions in the human body. Its bite has a larger concentration of the pain-causing chemical called Acetylcholine than any other stinging insect. Another interesting fact about these insects is that a particular enzyme in its venom can dissolve human tissues.
It stings repeatedly and in groups causing the death of the individual. The venom has eight distinctly different chemicals which attracts others in its group to attack the victim.
6. Fire Ant
Found in the continents of Asia, America and Europe, fire ants are quite deadly insects. Fire ant causes the most bite cases and deaths among ants, around 20 deaths annually worldwide. Its sting causes a burning sensation and painful swelling on the skin. Death may occur because of allergic reaction causing anaphylactic shock. Red fire ants are the most deadly of fire ants. Venom is used by these ants to either catch the prey or for defence. Most of the components of its venom are alkaloids that are water insoluble. Every year around 14 million people are stung by fire ants in the USA alone. Till date, more than 80 deaths have been recorded from red fire ant attacks.
7. Killer Bee
As the name itself suggests, these insects are lethal. Killer bee is the colloquial name for Africanised honey bees. It is found widely in North and South America. They are responsible for the second most human deaths caused by insects right after mosquitoes. Around 600 people are killed around the globe by killer bees. The bee which was produced by cross breeding European and African honey bees was introduced to Brazil initially. However, a group of bees escaped the quarantine and spread across the continent causing the present havoc. Unlike, other bees they have a talent in chasing the target for long distances and are quite aggressive. Death may occur due to an allergic reaction, causing anaphylactic shock or because of toxic effect, causing respiratory failure.
8. Yellow Harvester Ant
Ever occurred to you that ants could be lethal? Harvester ants are generally known to be venomous. They are called harvester as they are mainly interested in the collection of seeds. The yellow harvester ants are found only in the Arizona region of America. Human deaths caused by the sting of these ants are in fact quite rare. This is because the ants are limited to the Arizona region. Once bitten, the respective body part would swell accompanied with intolerable pain. The person affected with the ant bite might vomit and also might die of allergic reactions.
9. Yellow Jacket
Called yellow jacket because of its appearance, it is one of the most dangerous wasp species found in North America. The wasp attacks in groups and the rashes caused by the stings are red, itchy, and painful. The affected area would swell and the venom might cause allergic reactions leading to the death of the person.
Yet another kind of wasps, paper wasps are found in North America and Europe. It is considered to be the most venomous wasp and causes around 30 deaths every year. Similar to yellow jacket, the sting would be accompanied by a painful swelling which itches. More complications are diarrhea, fever, convulsion and kidney failure. Their stings are quite painful and can produce a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction in some individuals in just 30 minutes.