Top 10: Deadliest Insects in the World
Humans love to think they own the world. But the truth is that we are just one of hundreds of thousands of species living on Earth – including all types of insects.
It is estimated that there are 1.5 billion of crawling creatures and, although this number includes graceful butterflies, dangerous insects are contemplated too. In the world, there are about 900 thousand different kinds of living insects, making up about 80% of all of the world’s species.
The insects on this list are nowhere near being the deadliest animals on earth, but they really do make their mark, particularly for living things that are no bigger than a human finger.
Meet the ten most deadliest insects in the World, in ascending order:
10. Jumping Ants (Myrmecia pilosula)
Jumping ants or Jack jumper ants, are known to be highly aggressive and but are most often found in Tasmania, rural Victoria, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and the Adelaide Hills of South Australia. It has been reported three deaths and one possible death related to Jack Jumper stings in Tasmania.
The symptoms of the stings of the ants are similar to stings of the fire ants. The reaction is local swelling and reddening, and fever, followed by formation of a blister. The heart rate increases, and blood pressure falls rapidly. In individuals allergic to the venom (about 3% of cases), a sting sometimes causes anaphylactic shock.
9. Fire Ants (Solenopsis)
The fire ant is the common name for several species of ants in the genus Solenopsis native of South America and is very common in Brazil.
Although the bite is painful, these ants are not aggressive unless they feel threatened. They kill by stinging their prey and then injecting venom known as solenopsin. When a human is stung by the ant, it can be compared to the sensation felt when being burned; however, the sting is usually minor and something that the body can fight on its own.
One ant can’t do much damage to a human, however they live in colonies and sometimes, with enough stings and enough bodily sensitivity, the fire ants can kill. Stings may produce a large range of reactions from localized pain and swelling to anaphylactic shock, and there are reports of deaths caused by an allergic reaction to their venom.
8. Siafu (Dorylus)
Siafu, also known as driver ants, are a group of army ants found mainly in east and central Africa and some places in Asia. They live typically in colonies with more than 20 million individuals
One bite of this ant is extremely painful, but the damage it can do is much worse. It is said that the young and elderly are very susceptible to their bites, and some have died due to complications caused by the ant bite. Around 20-50 people reportedly die each year from a Siafu bite. Most reports of deaths are due to people falling asleep near an ant hill and succumbing to anaphylactic shock from countless ant bites and venom.
7. Flea (Siphonaptera)
There are over 2,000 species of fleas worldwide that belongs to the order Siphonaptera. Fleas are external parasites that feed on the blood of mammals and birds. These animals can transmit serious diseases such as typhus and bubonic plague.
One of the more deadly fleas is one you’d find on a rat, the Oriental rat flea (Xenopsylla cheopis), the primary vector for bubonic plague, carrying the most notable being the Yersinia pestis bacteria. Back to 14th century, nearly three-quarters of Europe’s population died due to this bacteria. Better known as the Black Death, this plague killed between 350 and 375 million people and peaked during 1348-1350.
While today dying from this bacteria would be rare in the U.S. and in most places in Europe, in many third-world countries it is very possible. Currently, 5 to 15 people in the United States are estimated to catch the disease each year — typically in western states.
6. Africanized Honey Bee (hybrid Apis mellifera scutellata)
Africanized honey bee, also known as killer bee, is very aggressive in nature. This killer bee is a hybrid of one of the several European Honey Bee subspecies and the African Honey Bee.
They are notable for having a much higher aggressive response to disturbance. The groups of killer bees follows victims for more than 1 mile. They lives within large colonies, more than 80,000 members and an attack by the group can cause severe damage to victim even death.
In 2000, the World Health Organization reported that in the USA there were 54 deaths attributable to bee stings. Since 1985, 175 deaths have been reported in Mexico.
5. Asian Giant Hornet (Vespa mandarinia)
The Asian giant hornet is the largest hornet in the world and is native from eastern and southeastern of Asia and can found in tropical environment.
Also known as Japanese giant wasp, a queen’s body can length approximately 5 cm (2 in) and its wingspan about 7.6 cm (3 in), and it has a 6 mm (0.24 in) stinger which injects a large amount of potent venom. This hornet can deliver a venomous sting that is harmful to humans and cause more pain than any other insect on the planet. An entomologist named Masato Ono, described the sensation as feeling “like having a hot needle in the leg”.
Each year in Japan, the human death toll caused by Asian giant hornet stings is around 30 to 40. Stings by Asian giant hornets killed 41 forty-one people and injured more than 1,600 people in Shaanxi province, China in 2013.
4. European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)
The European honey bee is highly dangerous to those who have allergies to bee stings. People who are allergic to the venom let off after being stung can go into anaphylactic shock, which often brings about hives, wheezing, confusion, pale skin, and sometimes unconsciousness and even death.
Australia is home to some of the most dangerous animals in the world, and the high incidence of bee stings coupled with the allergic reaction suffered by 1-2% of the population, make them the second most deadly venomous animal in this country.
3. Kissing Bug (Triatoma infestans)
The kissing bug or barber bug is a blood-sucking bug, common in south America and Central America, and the most important vector of Trypanosoma cruzi, a parasitic trypanosome protozoan. About 45,000 to 50,000 people die each year from kissing bug bites.
Trypanosoma cruzi causes Chagas disease, a deadly disease that may result in irreversible damage to the nervous system, muscle tissue, and the heart, eventually causing death.
2. Tsetse fly (Glossina)
Tsetse are large biting flies and are found in mid-continental Africa between the Sahara and the Kalahari deserts. This insect is the primary vector of Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of African sleeping sickness in humans. Most of the deaths are in Africa, about 250,000 to 300,000 die each year
One to three weeks after the bite, begins the fevers, headaches, itchiness and joint pains (first stage of the disease). Weeks to months later begins the second stage (neurological phase) with confusion, poor coordination, numbness and trouble sleeping. Without treatment, the disease is invariably fatal, with progressive mental deterioration leading to coma, systemic organ failure, and death.
Undoubtedly, mosquitos are the most deadly insect in the world, because they carry devastating diseases! Just remember how many epidemics are caused by these insects: malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever and many others.
It is said that the world’s deadliest insect is the Anopheles Mosquito (Anopheles quadrimaculatus) because of it’s capability to spread malaria, a disease that has killed millions of humans, about 300 to 500 millions cases of malaria every year and about 1-3 million people die from it each year.
Malaria is said to affect at least 10% of the world’s total population. These deaths are usually noted in sub-Saharan Africa where mosquitoes are very prominent and proper care for malaria is scarce.
Although creepy, if there were no insects life on Earth would be very different, and whether we like it or not, they are the true Lords of the planet.