Many people have an inherent fear of creepy crawlies. Most of these fears are unfounded, and most insects in the world are beneficial and essential to a healthy ecosystem.
However, there are some insects that are dangerous, and having a healthy fear of these types of bugs could wind up keeping you out of harm’s way.
So, what is the most dangerous bug in the world? Today, we’re about to find out! Join us as we count down the 12 most dangerous bugs you’ll want to stay away from.
What Is A Bug And What Makes A Bug “Dangerous”?
Dangerous bugs are typically going to be bugs that are considered venomous.
Most of us consider bugs to be insects, although when it comes to the most dangerous bug in the world, not all actually are insects.
Many venomous bugs on our list like spiders and scorpions, for example, are actually arachnids.
Arachnids are classified as join-legged animals. There are several orders of arachnids you should be aware of that you may have thought were insects. These “bugs” include mites, spiders, scorpions, solifuges, harvestmen, and even horseshoe crabs.
Insects, on the other hand, are arthropods. They are classified as invertebrate animals with three pairs of legs, exoskeletons, antennae, and three body parts.
Insects make up the largest group of anthropods in the world, with over 900 thousand different species of insects currently registered. According to the Smithsonian, insects are so vast that they make up over 80% of the world’s species. Quite contrarily, there are only about 60,000 arachnoid species on the entire planet.
So while arachnids may have a nasty reputation for being the most dangerous bug in the world, the truth is that insects are actually much more life-threatening and much more abundant.
Still, that doesn’t mean we don’t have both arachnids and insects on our countdown to the most dangerous bug in the world.
Take a look!
The Most Dangerous Bug In The World – Our Top 12 Contenders
Though not technically an insect, black widows are considered one of the most dangerous bugs in the world.
We hear quite often about people who are petrified of spiders. Movies and tv shows have been created depicting spiders as real-life monsters, tangling their victims in sticky webs and drinking their blood like eight-legged vampires.
The truth is, the real insect you should fear is one you likely consider mildly annoying. That’s right folks, the most dangerous but in the world is the tiny mosquito.
Are you stunned? Don’t be. We are going to talk more about what makes it the most dangerous bug in the world further down, but first let’s look at our full list of the world’s most dangerous bugs.
- The Mosquito
- The Tsetse Fly
- The Kissing Bug
- Bees and Wasps
- The Indian Red Scorpion
- The Deathstalker Scorpion
- The Brazilian Wandering Spider
- The Black Widow
- The Brown Recluse Spider
- The Bull Ant
Ready to find out why the mosquito wins number one when it comes to the most dangerous bug in the world? Then keep reading!
1. The Mosquito Mosquitos can spread serious and often deadly diseases.
The word mosquito translates to “little fly” in Spanish, and for good reason. Mosquitoes are actually part of the fly family, and there are roughly 3,600 different types of mosquitoes buzzing about the world.
They are common nearly everywhere save for Antarctica, and most of us know and despise them due to their itchy and sometimes even painful bites.
But mosquitos are much more than annoying pests. These insects are actually considered the most dangerous bug in the world.
In fact, mosquitos are known to transmit serious and often deadly diseases to both people and animals, including the Chikungunya virus, West Nile virus, Zeka Virus, Dengue, and Malaria.
According to the World Mosquito Program, it is estimated that at least 700 million people contract mosquito-borne diseases every single year, and at least one million of these people die from mosquito-borne illnesses each year across the globe.
The most deadly disease mosquitos are famous for spreading is malaria, a disease caused by a parasite that infects many different types of mosquitoes. Most victims of malaria deaths are young children under the age of five, but it is estimated that over 400,000 people died of malaria in 2019 alone.
With all of that noted, you may also be surprised to learn that not all mosquitoes bite. In fact, only female mosquitoes bite and drink blood, as they require the iron in the blood to provide them with nourishment when it comes to laying their eggs.
2. The Tsetse Fly
Tsetse Flies are large biting flies hailing from Africa.
Also known as the TikTik Fly, the Tsetse fly is considered the second most dangerous bug in the world, according to experts. This large, biting fly indigenous to Africa is responsible for spreading a life-threatening disease known as African Trypanosomiasis, (also called African Sleeping Sickness).
Like with mosquitoes, this disease is caused by a parasite, and Tsetse flies that carry this parasite can easily transfer this disease to people and animals.
African Sleeping Sickness is almost always fatal when left untreated, and it is estimated that between 50,000 to 500,000 people succumb to this disease each year.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to protect yourself if you’re visiting Africa, where the Tsetse fly roams.
Experts recommend people cover exposed skin when going outside or visiting game trails. They also suggest wearing dull colors like black, grey, brown, or tan. Tsetse flies are aggressive and can be attracted to brighter colors.
3. The Kissing Bug
Kissing bugs can carry a deadly disease called Chagas Disease, which is known to affect people and animals.
The kissing bug may have a romantic-sounding name, but there’s nothing loving about this deadly bug’s kiss. Considered the third most dangerous bug in the world, the kissing bug is an insect that is native to the Western United States. It has since spread and become an invasive species throughout the Eastern United States and has also been found in Europe, Asia, and most recently in Chile.
Also known as vampire bugs, the kissing bug feeds on blood from both people and animals. It is nocturnal and known to carry a parasite that can cause Chagas disease, also known as American Trypanosomiasis.
Although Chagas disease is relatively rare in the United States, it’s not unheard of. This disease can be lethal and it is estimated that around 10,000 people die each year from this disease worldwide.
However, not everyone who contracts Chagas disease will develop symptoms. The CDC suggests that only about 30% of those bitten by a Kissing bug infected with the parasite that is responsible for Chagas will show signs of illness.
4. Bees and Wasps
Though not always deadly, bees and wasps can lead to a deadly allergic reaction when they sting called anaphylaxis shock.
Though bees are some of the most important insects in the entire world, they are also some of the most dangerous.
Both bees and wasps are considered dangerous due to their ability to sting.
All bee and wasp stings are venomous, though not all are deadly to humans. The most venomous bee in the entire world is known as the Africanized Honey Bee, which can cause a fatal sting to its human victim within minutes.
Luckily, you don’t have to worry bout the Africanized Honey Bee here in the United States. Still, you should keep an eye open for bees and wasps in general.
Both bees and wasp stings can cause a serious allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis in people. Anaphylaxis is life-threatening and can come on suddenly, often leading to breathing difficulties, nausea, vomiting, collapse, and loss of consciousness.
Many species of bees and wasps are territorial and aggressive, and will often swarm their victim if they feel threatened.
It is estimated that the average person can handle up to 10 stings safely for each pound of body weight. 1,000 stings could be the danger zone for an adult human, while 500 stings could easily kill a small child.
It is also estimated that around 62 people die each year from bee and wasp stings, according to the CDC. This makes bees and wasps the fourth most dangerous bug in the world.
Fleas are deadly not because they are venomous, but because they can transmit serious diseases.
Fleas, like many of the contenders on our countdown of the most dangerous bug in the world, are not venomous, though they’re still incredibly dangerous.
Prevalent throughout the world, fleas are parasitic pests that feed primarily on animals and require a blood host to survive. Though they prefer animals like dogs, cats, cattle, and wild animals like raccoons and rabbits, fleas will also bite people.
Fleas are known to carry a serious disease known as flea-borne typhus. Just a few years ago in Southern California, there was an epidemic of typhus affecting both people and animals due to flea bites.
The good news is that it’s simple to protect yourself from fleas. The best way to protect yourself from fleas is to protect your pets. Make sure you invest in quality products like flea collars or flea medications from your veterinarian.
Because they can transmit such deadly diseases, ticks are often credited with being the most dangerous bug in the world.
Ticks are another one of our most dangerous bug in the world contenders thanks to their propensity for transmitting several tick-borne illnesses and diseases to people and animals.
Some of the most common illnesses people can contract from tick bites include Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, and Tularemia.
Though death due to some of these illnesses is rare, it is possible. Furthermore, many diseases including Lyme disease can have life-altering symptoms that last for more than six months.
The most dangerous ticks in the United States are the black-legged tick and the lone star tick. These pests are prevalent throughout the country.
7. The Indian Red Scorpion
The Indian Red Scorpion has a dangerously venomous sting.
The Hottentotta Tamulus, better known as the Indian Red Scorpian or Eastern Indian Scorpion, is one of the most dangerous scorpions in the world.
It’s estimated that scorpions are responsible for 3,250 deaths a year, but the Indian Red Scorpian perhaps packs the most fatal punch in its stinger.
The sting from an Indian Red Scorpion delivers a powerful neurotoxin to the body that can kill a healthy adult human in under 72 hours.
But while this arachnid is considered one of our most dangerous bug in the world contenders, it luckily is not found in the United States.
Indian Red Scorpions are most commonly found in India, Nepal, Eastern Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
Still, just because the Indian Red Scorpion is one dangerous bug, he’s not the only species of scorpion that can kill you. In fact, just like wasps and bees, scorpions can cause anaphylaxis when they sting which can lead to death in a matter of minutes in sensitive people.
However, death resulting from a scorpion sting is considered relatively rare, according to most experts.
8. The Deathstalker Scorpion
As its name suggests, the deathstalker scorpion is one of the most dangerous bug in the world candidates.
Following closely behind his venomous cousin is the Deathstalker Scorpion. This is certainly one of the most dangerous bugs in the world due to the high level of venom it can induce from a single sting.
Though considered extremely venomous, the Deathstalker Scorpion is rarely responsible for deaths in healthy adult humans. With that being said, death is possible with this arachnid, and the pain accompanying its sting may make you wish you were dead while you’re experiencing it.
The powerful neurotoxin in the deathstalker’s sting is known to cause paralysis, extreme pain, abdominal cramps, headache, diarrhea, and vomiting.
9. The Brazilian Wandering Spider
The Brazilian Wandering Spider goes by many names, and it is considered one of the most medically important spiders in the world.
Arachnaphobians beware! When it comes to the most dangerous bug in the world, we couldn’t leave out the Brazilian Wandering Spider. This spider is so dangerous it even snagged a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most medically important spider on the planet.
Scientifically named Phoneutria, the Brazilian Wandering Spider or banana spider, is known to cause a deadly bite that affects the nervous system and leads to rapid or irregular heartbeat, excessive salivation, prolonged and painful erections in men, and oftentimes death.
Luckily, there was a powerful antivenom invented in the 1980s that has since been used to treat the bite of the Brazilian Wandering Spider.
Before the antivenom was created, there were a recorded 13 to 14 deaths caused by this spider, with one child dying in as little as 15 minutes.
10. The Black Widow Spider
Black widows are some of the most dangerous spiders in the United States.
Black widows are one of the most infamous spider species in the United States, though its bad rep doesn’t necessarily precede it.
In fact, black widows have not been responsible for any deaths in the United States since the early 1980s.
Black widows are not considered aggressive, and they often don’t bite people unless they are agitated or provoked. However, they prefer to live in dark, cool environments like basements, attics, crawlspaces, and the backs of closets, which can lead to unwitting victims agitating the spider accidentally.
If you’re bitten by a black widow, you’ll likely notice right away. Black widow bites are very painful and often cause immediate symptoms following the bite. Black widow venom affects the nervous system, leading to stomach pain, swelling, cramping, nausea, vomiting, tremors, and sweats.
Of course, not everyone will have serious reactions to a black widow spider bite. Some people may only have mild symptoms while others may have severe reactions and require emergency medical care.
For this reason, the black widow spider sits at number 10 as the most dangerous bug in the world.
11. The Brown Recluse Spider
Brown Recluse spiders are venomous and can lead to skin deterioration amongst other symptoms.
The brown recluse spider is named for its reclusive nature, often being described as shy and even docile. In fact, being bitten by a brown recluse spider is relatively rare, as these arachnids do their best to stay away from people.
Like black widows, brown recluses often live in dark, cool spaces in people’s homes. They feed on a variety of insects and are relatively small.
Also known as violin spiders, the brown recluse can be identified by the violin-shaped pattern on its back. Though small and reclusive, the brown recluse can inflict a seriously dangerous bite.
The bite is immediately painful and often leads to a variety of symptoms including nausea, diarrhea, convulsions, seizures, fever, chills, joint pain, and weakness. Another unique symptom of the venom of a brown recluse bite is open, oozing sore known as necrosis.
This happens due to the enzymes in the spider’s venom, which acts as an acid and eats away at the soft tissue surrounding the bite site.
Though deaths from a brown recluse are considered rare, recent deaths have been reported. The most common victims of fatality when it comes to a brown recluse bite are often young children.
12. The Bull Ant
Bull ants are deadly due to their bite and potential for causing devastating allergic reactions.
Most commonly found in Australian forests and woodlands, the bull ant is a large species of ant that can commonly grow to be up to 40 millimeters in length. This ant is recognized by its slender body, long legs, and large mandibles it uses to find food, build nests, and defend itself.
The more bull ant bites you sustain, the more likely you will be to suffer from anaphylaxis. Still, it’s quite rare to die from a bull ant bite. In fact, only three human deaths have been reported since 1936, with the last reported death occurring in 1988.
Regardless, we know we wouldn’t want to get bitten by a bull ant, and that’s why this insect is rounding out our list as the 12th most dangerous bug in the world.
Tips And Tricks For Staying Away From Dangerous Bugs
Have a good idea of the types of bugs in your region and know where they like to lurk.
Learning that mosquitoes are actually the most dangerous bug in the world is frightening, especially considering these pests are everywhere. For some states in the US, mosquitoes are a year-round problem, and it can be unnerving dealing with them now that you know how dangerous their bites can be.
The good news is that there are plenty of products you can use and steps you can take to control the most dangerous bug in the world and protect yourself and your loved ones.
When it comes to mosquitos, invest in a quality pest control spray that you can use around your home. We also suggest wearing personal bug spray that contains DEET if you live in a region where deadly mosquitoes are known to live and breed.
Bug sprays and pest control products can help protect you not only from the most dangerous bug in the world but many of the dangerous bugs on our above list.
And if it’s spiders and scorpions you fear, be vigilant. These arachnids like to hide in dark spaces, and often bites are accidentally caused when humans disturb these arachnids.
Before putting on shoes that have been sitting in your garage or basement overnight, it’s a good idea to check them. We also suggest checking before turning on light switches in basements or garages and treating coat closets and drawers with a pest control spray or product.
If you’re not sure about some of the best pest control products you can use to protect yourself against the most dangerous bug in the world contenders above, we have listed some of our favorites for you to consider below.
Coleman DEET Insect Repellent
DEET insect repellent has been proven to be one of the most effective repellents when it comes to keeping dangerous bugs like mosquitoes at bay. While the use of DEET has become controversial in recent years, many experts agree that when used as directed, DEET is a safe and effective product.
If you’re concerned about using DEET products on yourself or your loved ones, there are plenty of natural, plant-based bug sprays you can choose from on the market. However, these products have not been proven to be quite as effective as DEET sprays, and considering we are talking about the most dangerous bug in the world, we would recommend sticking to what you know works.
Wondercide Flea and Tick Spray
Because fleas and ticks are also on our list of the world’s most dangerous bugs, we recommend investing in a pest control product that offers long-term protection against these pests.
The above product by Wondercide is a plant-based insecticide that works against a number of pests including fleas, ticks, roaches, spiders, and more. It is designed to be applied to your yard and garden and is completely safe to use around children and pets.
This product is also environmentally safe as well, which is always a plus for us.
Mighty Mint Spider Repellent
Last we have Mighty Mint Spider Repellent. This is an excellent product you can use indoors and out to repel spiders, and especially those dangerous arachnids like brown recluses and black widows.
This spray is all-natural and uses essential oils like peppermint oil to repel these pests. It is safe to use in areas where food is stored and prepared and safe to use around children and pets. You can spray this directly in closets, on furniture, and around your home to keep spiders and other pests at bay.
And there you have it – the top 12 most dangerous bugs in the world.
Now we want to hear from you. Were you surprised to learn that the most dangerous bug in the world was the common mosquito?
Tell us what you think about our list in the comment section below. Stay safe out there!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.