If you are anything like me, you have jumped up on the bed at the sight of a cockroach or screamed your lungs out because of a spider. We have all been grossed out by some disgusting pest at one point or the other in our lives. Be it that tiny red ant which can sting painfully or that revolting lizard slithering across the bedroom wall. This list, however, is full of some of the creepiest crawliest bugs you’ve probably never encountered ( thank your stars for that and pray you never do) Here goes, read at your own risk-
10. Giant Water Bug
At approximately 1.5 inches, the Giant Water Bug is one of the largest insects in USA and Canada. Found mostly in the freshwater rivers and lakes of North and South America, these bugs have been reported to make a meal out of baby turtles and even water snakes. Creepy shit, this. They’re not fatal to humans but can certainly deliver a painful sting. If they happen to mistake your toe for a tasty snack, they chew upon it and inject a tissue-liquefying poison. This has been known to cause permanent muscle damage in some cases. It also earns them their nickname of toe-biters or Alligator ticks.
9- Brazilian Wandering Spider
Spiders are not really insects (eight legs, not six. Remember 6th grade Biology?) but by God are they creepy! The Brazilian Wandering Spiders, found mainly in South and Central America are one of the deadliest spiders in the world. They appeared in The Guinness Book of World Records in 2010 as the most venomous spiders. These spiders are identified by the red hair covering their fangs. Also, they belongs to the genus of Phoneutria, which is Greek for ‘murdress’, just so you know. The creepiest bit of information, however, is that these spiders do not sit placidly in their web like most others and wait for their prey. They roam about at night actively seeking out their prey, as the name suggests. They’re not higher up on the list because a very few human fatalities occur due to their bite, because of an effective anti-venom.
8- Kissing Bugs
How scary could they be if they’re named after something as nice as kissing? Pretty scary, actually, when they kiss your face at night and transmit the Chagas disease. Triatomine bugs earned their nickname of kissing bugs since they suck on the blood of humans and transmit the Trypansosoma cruzi parasite which leads to the Chagas disease. This disease manifests itself in symptoms like fever, fatigue, diarrhea, swelling of eyelids etc and is potentially life-threatening in its later stages, causing serious digestive, intestinal and cardiac problems. The bug’s saliva is also known to cause allergies. Not so nice sounding after all, is it?
Who amongst us has not been grossed out by that ugly black insect? They’re not fatal or painful in any way and are on this list solely because of the gross-factor they generate. There are more than 4,000 species of cockroaches on earth and all of them are equally, disgustingly ugly. Not a small feat, that. Only about 30 species cohabit with humans (Thank God for small mercies?) A cockroach can live for a week without a head and most species can fly. These creepy black bugs fly and land on their hapless victims. Ugh. They thrive everywhere, from deserts to mountains to plateaus and plains, and have been roaming around on earth from prehistoric times, making lives miserable. If that is not creepy enough for you, then this should do the trick: Cockroaches are so hardy that they can survive a nuclear attack, the only known living organism to do that except scorpions.
6- Bullet Ants
For organisms so tiny, ants sure can pack a punch in their bodies. The Bullet Ants or Paraponera are found mostly in the humid rainforests from Nicaragua to Paraguay. Bullet Ants have the distinction of delivering the most painful sting the insect kingdom. The pain they cause measures ‘4+’ on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, more painful than any other insect’s. One victim described the pain as being shot with a nail gun, hence the name Bullet Ants. Their stings, though extremely painful, are not fatal. Interesting fact- The Satere-Mawe tribe of Brazil uses the bullet ant sting as part of their initiation rite of becoming a warrior. We certainly don’t envy the people who undergo this ritual.
5- Siafu (African Ants)
Ants again. These ones are also called Killer Ants, just so you know. These ants march in groups of millions and devour anything that crosses their path. They’re also blind, which makes it all creepier for some reason. Found mostly in Western Africa and the Congo, and some parts of tropical Asia. they have extremely strong shearing jaws. These ants move across the forest floor in one long column and eat up anything that crosses their path, no exceptions. It is when this column enters homes and residential premises that the real threat to humans emerges. Even elephants try to avoid them, for the entire colony of 20 million individuals attacks together, making sure that the prey does not escape. The queen Siafu ant is the also the largest ant in the world. A well deserves fifth spot on the list.
4- Japanese Giant Hornets
Found in the mountains of Japan, these hornets are around 1.6 inches large with a wingspan of about 2.5 inches, so the word ‘giant’ in their name is apt. They usually stalk their prey in armies. Sometimes when they don’t, the single hornet leaves pheromone markers around the prey which attract the entire hornet colony to it. They’re so powerful, in fact, that a single hornet can kill around 40 European honeybees. Kill and dismember brutally. To humans, they’re not generally dangerous (Thankfully) unless they feel threatened, in which case they sting. And inject venom. Each year, approximately 40 people die in Japan because of their sting
3- Tsetse Fly
The Tsetse fly is a bloodsucking member of the housefly family. These flies are found exclusively in mid-continental Africa and live by sucking the blood of humans and animals (both domestic and wild) That, however, is not the creepy bit. What is truly creepy about these innocuous looking flies is that they are the biological vectors or the carries of the ‘trypanosome’ parasite which causes human sleeping sickness. Sleeping sickness begins with the bite of the deadly tsetse fly and leads to infection in the brain. It is almost always fatal, with the patient slipping into a coma after experiencing various scary symptoms that range from high fever, muscle pain, rashes to dementia, confusion, convulsions and even paralysis. The fact that almost 250-300 people die because of this fly each year earns it the third spot on the list
2- Tongue Eating Louse
Can’t be too nice if it eats tongues, now can it? Thankfully, these creepy bugs don’t affect humans. They attach themselves to a fish’s tongue and slowly destroys it by taking all the blood away. Soon, the parasite attaches itself to the tongue stub and begins to act like the fish’s tongue. This is the only known case of a parasite functionally substituting for an organ in the host’s body. It is also Creepy Creepy Creepy! Interesting fact- Rick Beattie in Belfast wasn’t too pleased when he purchased a snapper at his local supermarket, went home and discovered the gigantic parasite inside the fish’s mouth. He was promised a full refund. The revolting way in which these parasites function is the only reason they are on the second spot even if they don’t directly affect humans.
These flies have truly earned their reputation as the creepiest insect on this list. They’re not necessarily dangerous but what they do is most certainly extremely absolutely gross. They lay their eggs on human skin. That’s right. The Dermatobia hominis or the human botfly infests the skin of mammals and the hatched out larvae continue to live in the subcutaneous layer. The larvae enter the skin through the hair follicle or through the bite wound and burrow in, eating away at the human tissue. People can sometimes even feel the insect moving around in their bodies. They usually have to be removed through surgery. There, in fact, used to be a video on Youtube featuring a botfly eating away at a human eyelid which had to be taken down because it was so gross. Sounds right out of a horror flick, this, does it not?