The wilderness is a confusing place full of many different species us humans don’t totally understand. More succinctly put, there’s a whole world out there full of tiny little critters just waiting to kill you. So before you take your next safari, let’s get into some of the most terrifying insects lurking out in the wild.
The Assassin Bug
This tiny little killer from Malaysia likes to show off its victims for everyone to see. Measuring less than a centimeter in length, the Assassin Bug incapacitates its victim then injects them with a venom that liquefies their insides. Once the bug has sucked out all those delicious innards, he fastens the carcass exoskeleton to his body using a special secretion as glue. The carcass armor can be more than 20 times the size of the bug itself and can be shed at a moments notice under attack.
Japanese Giant Hornet
This tiny little thing is the most lethal animal in Japan, killing on average about 40 people a year in its home country. While the giant hornet is not outwardly aggressive, he will sting you the instant it feels threatened. That’s where things get bad. The hornet has a quarter-inch stinger which injects venom that immediately attacks your central nervous system and damages human tissues. These hornets aren’t just terrifying to humans, either. Studies have found that a group of 30 hornets can destroy a hive of 30,000 bees in three hours by releasing hormones that attract more hornets to the site of the attack.
Brazilian Wandering Spider
Unlike most spiders who just cast a web and wait for dinner to arrive, these spiders actually get out of the house to hunt down their prey after dark. Brazilian Wandering Spiders like hiding near human dwellings – houses, cars, your boots – so they occasionally find themselves being provoked into attacking. Since their venom can be deadly, you probably want to keep an eye out for these guys the next time you visit South America.
Africanized Honey Bee
Anything with “Killer” in their nickname makes this list. These little buzzers earned the moniker Killer Bees based on a propensity to attack quickly upon provocation. These attacks involve swarming with their brethren and pursuing their victims further than standard bees (sometimes as far as a mile). While their stings aren’t that much more potent than your standard bee, their tendency to attack in large groups make them more dangerous and, depending on the size of the group, occasionally lethal.
Otherwise known as the 24 Ant, for the 24 hours of pain you endure if you’re unlucky enough to be stung by one of these tiny monsters. These guys can grow to be larger than an inch long and when they sting you, it apparently feels like being shot. As if the initial sting isn’t painful enough, the wounded experiences various waves of burning and throbbing for the next full day. Based on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, the Bullet Ant sting is the most painful sting you can experience from an insect.
Primarily from the Amazon Basin, these half-inch ants are known for having machete-like jaws that stretch for half the length of their bodies. They’re also blind, which somehow doesn’t stop them from figuring out ways to constantly breed, scavenge and move on to new feeding areas. The key to their dominance is teamwork: these guys move in packs of hundreds of thousands, using their own bodies to build defensive barriers, bridges and anything else they need to keep foraging forward.
These little guys are known for sucking on vertebrae blood. Pleasant, right? They’re also known for infecting humans with Chagas disease. At first, Chagas simply causes swelling in its victim, but further down the line cardiac damage can kick in. The transfer of the disease goes from the vertebrae blood to the insect and then to the next human through the Kissing Bugs’ feces. Tasty.
This beetle has a defense mechanism unlike any other. When the Bombardier is threatened, he unleashes a noxious chemical spray that can reach the boiling point of water. The spray smells horrible and emits with a loud popping sound. While the attack is merely painful to human skin, it can kill other insects and small animals.
Golden Orb Weaver
The Golden Orb specializes in weaving particularly effective webs. While that’s not special for a spider, the size of the prey they catch is. There have been multiple reports of these Orbs catching snakes and birds, with a specific instance in Australia that resulted in pictures of a Golden Orb devouring a full-sized Chestnut-breasted Mannikin.
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New Zealand Weta
This species has produced the world’s heaviest insect - and it is terrifying to look at. The largest Weta ever found was in New Zealand and the cricket-like creature weighed in at 2.5 ounces with a 7-inch wing span. The thing is large enough to wrap its arms around a carrot but doesn’t really pose any dangers to humans. Still, any insect that’s too big to kill with a rolled up newspaper qualifies as terrifying in our book.