15 Exotic Insects That Are Harmful & Deadly to Humans
Insects have been the stuff of nightmares for centuries. They are both
terrifying and incredible, capable of great feats of strength and carnage. A few
insects have earned well deserved reputations for terror such as the killer bees
and fire ants. Others, like the cockroach, are not generally so horrible on
their own but have gained reputations for filth and disease. Many fall into the
category of being harmless. And while most of us wouldn't hesitate to step on a
bug or use spray to get it out of the house, most of the time it's not because
we think that it's dangerous but just because it's dirty. However, nature is
full of plenty of surprises, and strange insects that can do a lot of harm are
quite numerous. Just because you don't know about it doesn't mean it isn't weird
and dangerous or that you aren't at risk from some of nature's greatest terrors.
15) Tongue Eating Sea Louse
The tongue eating sea louse is one of the more
horrifying insects. Most parasites simply feed off the host's body parts.
However, this gruesome little insect does far more than that. It attaches itself
to the tongue and then begins drinking the blood. As it drinks the blood, the
tongue begins to wither. The louse swells in size until it devours the tongue
entirely. For quite some time, the host can survive, using the louse as it would
The louse only begins procreation after it has consumed the tongue fully. At
this point, it is approximately the size of the host's tongue. This means that
the individual sea louse varies in size based on the host. The larger the louse
becomes, the more dangerous it is. The louse draws more and more heavily on the
host, draining greater quantities of blood, mucus, and tissue. Eventually, it
reaches the primary blood vessels and arteries.
The cause of death from the tongue eating sea louse stems from the loss of
blood or the onset of infection. Both of these take quite some time to manifest.
The louse can only be removed if it is caught within the early stages of its
attachment. Otherwise, the entire tongue must be removed to severe all of the
connecting muscle fibers and tissues.
14) Loa Loa
In the United States, most people have not had to deal with the loa loa. The loa loa, however, is greatly feared in west and central Africa.
Loosely translated, the name means "eye eating worm." The incubation process is
exceptionally painful and often leads to death. For many years, those who
suffered from the loa loas were believed to be under a curse. This belief was
only encouraged since the loa loa can be seen wriggling within the eye and
pressing up against the iris and pupil.
The loa loa is the larvae of the nematode worm. It is transmitted through the
bites of deer flies and mango flies. The bite can occur anywhere. Once the eggs
are laid, the initial incubation process begins. No symptoms are present at that
time except for minor itching. When the worms hatch, they begin to make their
way to the victim's head. They then take up residency in the eyes and bridge of
the nose until they are ready to emerge. The rupturing may cause blindness, and
the worm frequently moves across the eye. This is agonizing and can last for
more than 15 minutes at a time.
With modern medicine, the loa loa is easily removed. However, it must be
caught quickly to reduce as much damage as possible. The loa loa thrives in
human hosts, and the deer and mango flies actively seek out human hosts. The
elderly are the most at risk.
13) Zombie Wasp
Insects are quite resourceful when it comes to providing for
their plentiful young. It's incredibly terrifying to consider how they do this.
The zombie wasp is one such horrifying insect, and its clever and resourceful
patterns are what allows it to thrive.
The mother wasp seeks out cockroaches as her primary prey. She then stings
the roach directly in the brain. At this point, if she has done it properly, she
disables the cockroach's reflexes and ability to escape. She then actually leads
the roach down into the nest. Once there, she lays an egg on the roach's belly
and seals it in. The larva hatches soon afterward, sometimes within minutes. The
larva then burrows into the roach and incubates itself within the host roach,
eating its tissues until the wasp is ready to emerge.
Most of the time, zombie wasps do not have a problem finding a host roach.
However, in some cases, it may choose a human host. This generally only happens
at night or when a person is napping. While the person naps, the zombie wasp
lays the egg. If the wasp larva hatches, it will burrow into the person. While
this is rare, it is quite painful, and it needs immediate removal.
12) Little Dragon Flea
The little dragon flea
(also called Dracunculus or Guinea worm) gained its reputation from the
horrible pain its victims suffer. It is transmitted through dirty water that has
been exposed to general water flea species. Once inside the body, the fleas are
digested and die. However, the larvae remain ingested and attach themselves to
the insides of the intestines. The larvae then hatch and move down into the feet
One of the biggest problems with the little dragon flea is that at least one
female will become a large worm like creature within the foot. It nourishes the
other smaller ones until they are ready to seek out a new host. The female is
the largest, and she is the one that must be removed before crippling sets in.
The little dragon flea or the
dragon worm as the larger female larva is called, attaches itself to the tendons
in the foot. It devours the inner tissues. Once it attaches, the victim
experiences excruciating pain and boil formation over the foot and ankle. The
mature dragon fleas escape through these sores but the female remains and
continues to open up pockets of infection and wounds.
The larger female larvae cannot be removed through medication and there is no
vaccine against it. Most of the time, the female must be removed through
surgery. A common folk remedy, however, involves slicing into the foot at the
point near the worm. This is often indicated by a bold white or yellow line
arched across the foot. The worm's tail or middle is then caught and wrapped
around a stick. Then she is gradually pulled out.
11) Mind Control Beetle
The mind control beetle is a tiny insect that attacks
rodents most of the time. When it finds a suitable host, it attacks the rodent,
biting it and planting its eggs in the rodent's skin. The venom in the bite
includes toxoplasma, one of the more powerful natural forming brain washing
chemicals. The result of this venom is that the rodent is not afraid of cats
then. The cat then eats the infected rodent and carries the beetle's larvae
around. The larvae develop inside the cat's intestines and are then deposited in
the cat feces where they then go on to continue the cycle.
Most of the time, the mind control beetle's venom affects only rodents.
However, people who are stung by the mind control beetle or who are exposed to
its venom have sometimes gone crazy. It can also cause birth defects. This is why women must avoid
cat feces. It is not because of the cat but because of the larvae that may be in
the cat feces. These larvae then bite the human and transmit the toxoplasma.
Strangely though, cats remain unaffected by the venom.
10) Tarantula Hawk
The tarantula hawk gained its name from the fact that it is
one of the tarantula's most perpetual hunters. It tracks tarantulas and attacks
then, laying eggs on the incapacitated tarantula. It is one of the most
beautiful wasps in the world. It is also number two on the Schmidt Sting Pain
Index. Generally speaking, the tarantula hawk is not an aggressive wasp like its
cousins. However, they do have very large stingers, and their legs are hooked.
As such, it has very few natural predators with the exception of the roadrunner.
Surprisingly though, the tarantula hawk is the official insect for the state
of New Mexico. For people who are generally allergic to bees and wasps, the
tarantula hawk is particularly dangerous because of its potency. Generally, the
pain from a sting lasts for three minutes. Most people hurt themselves further
trying to stop the pain. Tourists are warned against going near the tarantula
hawk because of the power of its sting. They are warned also that a sting causes
an entire shut down of all rational and logical functions and victims generally
flail and scream until the pain subsides. In doing this, they may hurt
themselves and others. Some people have even gone so far as to stick pencils
into the sting to change the pain as the severity does not change for three
9) Bullet Ant
While the tarantula hawk has a reputation for having an
excruciating sting, the bullet ant is the actual prize winner. In documenting
most venomous and painful stings, National Geographic placed the bullet ant at
the top of the list. Each ant is at least an inch long. The hive rests up in the
trees, unlike most ants who live in nests in the ground. However, what makes
this so chilling is that bullet ants shriek before attacking and biting. They
will drop multiple feet onto victims and passersby who get too close to the
Both National Geographic and the authors of Initiation Rituals of the World
have documented the bullet ants unusual role in South American male rites of
passage. A young man is ready to become a man when he wears leaf sleeves with
hundreds of ants inside. The ants are arranged strategically for the greatest
amount of pain. The young man must wear these sleeves for as long as possible,
all the while being stung by these ants. The venom is not as toxic as other
ants, but it is excruciating and can cause infections later if the stings are
left untreated or too many are received. The pain is horrific. Its side effects
include trembling, perspiration, and throbbing. In some cases, temporary
paralysis may ensue. On the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, the bullet ant is No. 1 in
8) Death Stalker With a name like Death Stalker, it's no surprise that this
scorpion is deadly. In fact, it is one of the deadliest scorpions in the world,
despite the fact that it is one of the lesser known ones. Its venom has a high
concentration of powerful neurotoxins.
Most of the time, it will not kill a
normal healthy adult if he receives treatment soon after, the sting is generally
fatal to small children and the elderly. However, it can be quite hard to find
the death stalker and to research it as it is generally a shyer scorpion. It's
also often mistaken for more common scorpion species.
Surprisingly though, many researchers and cancer research teams are
cultivating this insect. One of the key components of the venom is peptide
chlorotoxin. It has been found to have properties that may actually cure human
brain tumors along with other components that may help end diabetes. This has
not kept some people from trying to selling them as pets, claiming that they are
a less dangerous scorpion breed. This has led to many countries to consider
requiring permits and papers before sales of scorpions can go through.
7) African Bat Bug
One of the more painful and horrifying encounters one can
have with a bug is the African bat bug. The African bat bug wins the prize for the most violent and non
particular sex. The male has a razor sharp penis. When it wants to mate, it
finds a female and begins stabbing her in the abdomen or wherever he thinks he
will most likely get in. It doesn't matter whether he reaches the sex organs or
not. The sperm is just released into the bloodstream.
While people don't die from bat bug attacks, the experience is extremely
painful. It happens most often during the mating season. The sperm released into
human blood stream will not result in live bat bugs emerging from your arm. But
the sting can result in painful infections and inflammation. If it is mating
season and a male bat bug is on you, it may decide to try to lay eggs in your
A single colony of siafu can have more than 20 million ants. In
fact, while army ants and fire ants are more famous for their swarming and
marching capabilities, the siafu are actually the largest swarming category of
ants in the world. In fact, it is closely related to army ants.
What makes these ants so dangerous is that they hunt in swarms or columns.
They set out on the search for food. Most people are able to avoid them by
getting out of the way. However, invalids and children in cribs or confined
areas have been killed when the ants march over them and they cannot escape. The
soldiers march on the outside of the column and lead the attack. In its series
on deadly insects, National Geographic documented a colony of siafu taking down
a small zebra. The bites of these ants are so strong that they can be used as
emergency sutures. Shamans and tribal physicians often gather siafu and use them
to bite into flesh to hold a wound together. They then tear the body off, and
the ant head holds the wound shut for a few days. However, burning the body is
essential. Otherwise, the scent will draw the column to the patient.
Check out a quick video of someone feeding an army of Siafu a grasshopper:
5) Japanese Giant Hornet
The Japanese giant hornet is actually one of the
worst hornets alive, despite being one of the rarer species. It spans about
three inches, and it looks like a toy hornet. Most people outside of Japan
haven't even heard of it. However, in Japan, it is a true terror.
The hornet is quite aggressive. However, it's not satisfied with just
stinging people. Instead, it shoots acid into its victim's eyes including
people. The acidic venom includes a pheromone that then calls all of the hornets
to the attack. They then come and start stinging the victim until death. Most of
the time, victims cannot escape before being swarmed. Researchers are not certain what makes the Japanese giant
hornet attack some people. However, a sting is a precursor to death as the venom
is dangerous in a single dose. Multiple stings, however, cannot be treated
within the short span of time since the hornets do not generally leave the body
until the victim is dead. The book "Deadliest Bugs on Earth" terms the Japanese
Giant Hornet one of the deadliest bugs that most of the world has never heard of
outside of horror movies.
If you got some spare time, you can watch this full 45 minute documentary on
4) Brazilian Army Ant
The Brazilian army ants are some of the most feared
ants in South America. However, they are often confused for other kinds of army
ants. What separates the Brazilian army ant from other army ants is that they
dismantle their prey live during the swarming process. This includes people.
The Brazilian army ant was
actually thought to be something made up simply for horror movies. After all,
there are many different species of army ants, and while some can kill invalids
and infants like the siafu, most of them do not rip apart living prey. The
Brazilian army ants work together. As they pass over the victim, each one seizes
a piece of the victim and tears away anywhere from a quarter to a whole inch
chunk of living flesh. A column of Brazilian army ants can strip a carcass
before the column has fully passed over.
Brazilian army ants making a climbable
wall out of themselves:
The Brazilian army ants have no nest. They carry their eggs along with them,
and the ants form living ladders to cross ravines and climb surfaces. Their
marches last for their entire lives. They rest only briefly during the times
when the queen needs to lay her eggs. What makes them most formidable though is
that their jaws are equal to a quarter to half of their body length. Generally,
the ant's body is approximately half an inch long. Generally, each colony is
between one and five million ants. Additionally, the ants are blind. This makes
their living architectural feats even more impressive. When they start to come
through a town or a city, the only thing that can be done is to get out of the
way so that you don't get torn to pieces bit by bit.
3) Human Bot Fly
Rumors of the bot fly has inspired a number of horrifying
alien tales, though for quite some time most entomologists presumed that the
claims that the flies could and would attack humans was fictional writer hype as
seen in the classic horror genre. The first known species were found in horses,
sheep, and other domestic animals. However, research in prominent journals such
as the Journal of Insect Science, Journal of Parasites and Vectors, and
International Journal for Parasitology has discovered and documented the
existence of human bot flies.
The human bot fly has adapted itself to feed only on humans. The fly lands on
any place on the human body and then bites in, laying an egg. The egg is
attached to the skin and results in a maggot feeding off the live flesh.
Sometimes the human bot fly places its eggs on a mosquito. At this point, the
larvae lands on the human victim, and the larvae burrows into the skin. It then
begins eating flesh right away. They can grow anywhere and eat away at whatever
they find. This includes the eyes, the lips, internal organs, and the brain.
Yes, the brain. The human bot fly thrives within the human brain, and it is
hardest to target inside the brain. Treatment varies based on the status of
decay and the level of reproduction within the body. Human bot flies within the
extremities are the easiest to treat whereas those that lodge within internal
organs or the brain are the trickiest. Those that lodge within the brain can
cause a number of brain diseases and insanity.
2) Kissing Bugs
The kissing bug lives throughout the warmer regions of
North, Central, and South America. It has gradually been spreading northward,
but the cold winters have stopped it from going far beyond Georgia. A name like
the kissing bug could fool most into thinking it's not any worse than the
fictional renderings of the bed bug. However, it is one of the primary
transmitters of Chaga's disease and a common instigator of chronic neurological
disorders. It can even instigate heart attacks and strokes.
What makes the kissing bug so dangerous is that its bite is painless. It
slips through the windows at night and bites its victims on the lips, ears, or
eyelids. Through the bite, the diseases and infections can be transmitted. Often
times, no marks except for a small red dot can be seen from the kissing bug's
attack. It's generally not even suspected until the diseases begin to form and
other causes have been ruled out.
This is what a Kissing Bug bite looks like:
The Chikungunya mosquito is hard to distinguish from other
mosquitoes when just using the naked eye. Most
cases of chikungunya are transmitted by the chikungunya mosquito. In fact, for
quite some time, most people actually believed that all mosquitoes could carry
this virus. However, only a few species including the Chikungunya mosquito, can
carry it. In fact, the primary carrier species was named after the virus rather
than the other way around.
This mosquito lives only throughout the warmest regions of Thailand and India
during the rainy seasons. The effects of its bite are not felt for several days.
It starts off with a severe rash and arthritis symptoms. Then fever sets in.
Hemorrhaging is common in the latter stages. While treatments are available, it
becomes increasingly more difficult to treat as it sets into the body.