We’ll be blunt — insects suck. They sting, bite, give us the heebie-jeebies, and believe it or not, some of them also kill. Yep, it’s true. While the world is definitely full of dangerous things, it’s believed that out of more than a million types of creepy crawlies, around 5,000 of them are hopelessly dangerous.
That being said, it might feel like the U.S. is an insect-free oasis (at least compared to Australia, where spiders fall like raindrops by the thousands, or Asia, where massive swarms of locusts resembling dark storm clouds cause major devastation across the continent). But the unfortunate truth is that dangerous insects are likely lurking in your own backyard.
Interested in learning more? The Natural Patch Co. has your back! Read on to learn about the top ten most dangerous bugs in the U.S.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in!
1. Asian Giant Hornets
Meet the Asian Giant Hornet: the largest and deadliest hornet on the planet. Nicknamed the “Murder Hornet,” these killers have the power to slaughter up to 40 honeybees in as little as a single minute. They can be extremely deadly to humans, literally melting flesh with their venom, destroying red blood cells, and causing kidney failure.
In Japan, the evil hornets kill up to 50 people a year — and now, for the first time, they have made it to the U.S.
It’s unknown how the lethal insect made it from its native areas of Japan, Thailand, China, South Korea, and Vietnam to North America, but sightings have definitely been confirmed, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is currently doing everything they can to eliminate the threat before it's too late.
2. Black Widow Spiders
The black widow spider might not be much bigger than a paperclip, but it’s certainly more dangerous.
Distinctive with their red hourglass, these creepy-crawlies are considered the most venomous spiders in all of North America, with venom that’s around 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake’s.
A bite from a black widow spider is said to feel like a pinprick, followed by chills, cramping, muscle pain, nausea, and partial paralysis, ultimately making breathing no easy feat. Most victims recover without serious complications, but black widow bites have a five percent fatality rate.
3. Arizona Bark Scorpions
Commonly found in Arizona and California, the Arizona bark scorpion is the most dangerous scorpion that resides in the U.S.
A victim stung by this thin-tailed pest can experience painful swelling, irregular heartbeat, muscle spasms, and breathing difficulties and should seek medical attention post-haste.
4. Kissing Bugs
This is the ickiest bug on our list. Attracted by carbon dioxide, this blood-sucking insect enjoys biting people on the face — then defecates. We know, gross.
If the feces happen to enter your body through the mouth, nose, or eyes, it can spread Chagas disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls Chagas a “neglected parasitic infection” that is carried by an estimated 300,000 people. Up to a whopping 30 percent could years later develop life-threatening health issues, including body aches and heart disease.
Simply put, this is one bug you don’t want to be kissing.
Annoying, sneaky, and persistent — that’s essentially the life of a tick in a nutshell. Six tick species feast on human blood, and they are particularly nasty in the Northeast (hello, Lyme disease) and in the midwest (nice to meet you, Rocky Mountain spotted fever).
According to the CDC, the amount of tick-borne illnesses has more than doubled in recent years. If you find a tick on you and start experiencing symptoms such as fever, chills, aches, and pains, it’s important to contact your doctor immediately.
6. Brown Recluse Spiders
Most common in the Midwest and South, these terrifying spiders are usually brown in color and have dark violin-shaped markings behind their heads. Its bite can be incredibly destructive to human flesh as it can literally destroy skin tissue. So, keep an eye out in wood piles and under rocks, as well as dark closets and attics where these arachnids like to hide.
7. Africanized Honey Bee
Also known as the killer bee, the Africanized honey bee was first introduced to America after an experiment went wrong. In the 1950s, colonies of African honey bees were brought into Brazil for cross-breeding in order to increase honey output.
Well, things didn’t exactly go according to plan, and unfortunately, some of the African queens and worker bees made a ~buzz~ for it, breeding with European honey bees instead and giving birth to the killer bee hybrid.
What makes these bees “killer” is the fact that they are ten times faster than European honey bees and are found to be much more aggressive. In fact, they have been known to chase people for more than a quarter of a mile once they get excited and are solely responsible for at least 1,000 deaths in the United States alone.
8. Maricopa Harvester Ants
Believe it or not, the Maricopa harvester ant’s venom is believed to be the most toxic venom in the entire world, possessing venom about 25 times more toxic than honey bee venom and 35 times more potent than western diamondback rattlesnake venom.
These terrifying ants attack their victims with a one-two punch: first, an ant will bite you, clamping down with its powerful mandibles to give it a secure base from which to sting you many, many times. Though they don’t attack unless provoked, a red harvester’s sting is so incredibly painful, and in some cases, can cause an allergic reaction that can quickly become lethal.
9. Red Fire Ants
The Maricopa harvester ant isn’t the only ant you have to be on the lookout for. Red fire ants are ruthless, with a hive mentality that causes them to gang up on intruders and, in extreme cases, even kill them. Commonly referred to as the most aggressive ant species in the world, these bad boys are primarily found in the Southeast and build nests that contain between 100,000 to 500,000 insects.
Similar to a harvester ant, a red fire ant will latch onto its victim with its jaws and then repeatedly inject venom with stingers until they are brushed off or killed. As if the initial burning sensation wasn’t awful enough, the tiny bites can quickly develop into fluid-filled pustules...yuck!
Last on the list, but certainly not least, we have the mosquito.
Everyone’s experienced a relentlessly itchy bite from a mosquito, but did you know that these little bloodsucking vampires can also spread life-threatening diseases, like malaria, West Nile, yellow fever, dengue, and Zika?
Unfortunately, yes—these diseases can result in immense suffering, with nearly 700 million people contracting mosquito-borne illnesses each year, causing more than one million deaths.
That being said, mosquitoes tend to gravitate to woodsy places with standing water, so be sure to keep your yard free and clear from birdbaths, fountains, and other skeeter attractions. And if your kiddos are going outside — especially between dusk and dawn when the bloodsuckers are most active — don’t forget to arm them with a powerful mosquito repellent, like BuzzPatch.
BuzzPatch uses the most effective essential oil combination designed to confuse the hungry critters and hide your little ones from their senses. And unlike topical sprays, which contain harsh chemicals and questionable ingredients, the BuzzPatch stickers are not only easy to apply but environment-friendly — what’s not to love?
And there you have it, ladies and gents — the top ten most dangerous bugs that roam freely in America! While each insect on our list is sure to send a chill down your spine, it’s the mosquito that we need to be the most worried about. Zika, malaria, and dengue are just a few of the life-threatening illnesses that these pesky little bloodsuckers can transmit.
Here at The Natural Patch Co., we understand how deadly mosquitos can be — especially to our little ones. Made using non-woven fabric patches infused with a powerful combination of Citronella and other essential oils that are perfectly safe for your kids, our innovative repellent patches prevent mosquito bites instantly.
Love your time in the outdoors without all the buggy problems.
: Locusts Are Swarming In Record Numbers In 2020 | NPR
Millions of Spiders Rain Down on Australia—Why? | National Geographic
In Japan, the ‘Murder Hornet’ Is Both a Lethal Threat and a Tasty Treat | NY Times
Protecting Pollinators from A New Threat – First-Ever U.S. Sightings of Asian Giant Hornet | USDA
Africanized Honey Bee | UC Riverside Center for Invasive Species Research
Pharmacological and toxicological properties of harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex badius, venom | Science Direct