There are enough strange and scary bugs to keep us in horror for eternity. Thankfully, not all spooky bugs are as scary as they appear. However, while fact is stranger than fiction, the ones below really can be terrifying and are best avoided.
“Killer” Honey Bees
Honey bees are native to Europe, Africa, and Asia. A well-meaning scientist brought queen honey bees from Africa to Brazil, in hopes to breed a harder-working variety beekeepers there could manage. Instead, some escaped and bred in uncontrolled conditions. The result is a strain that aggressively defends its hives.
Worker bees by the score will sting intruders and chase people up to a mile. Some people, and livestock animals, have been killed by such attacks. This variety of honey bee has now spread to many parts of the southwest U.S.
Giant Water Bugs
Huge insects with “lobster claws” that show up at lights at night, and that often remain the next morning, are giant water bugs. Be careful, these “toe-biters” can inflict a painful bite with their beak-like mouthparts.
They swim well, but fly, too, and get “grounded” on occasion where they are more easily seen. Underwater, they hunt almost every other animal, including other insects, salamanders, frogs, fish, even small snakes. On their sensitive side, it is the males that guard and care for the eggs. Females even lay their eggs on the backs of males in some species (Belostoma spp. and Abedus spp.).
Giant Ichneumon Wasps
Among the most intimidating insects in North America are giant ichneumon wasps in the genus Megarhyssa. It looks like the wasp has a stinger twice as long as her body!
We can be grateful that she only uses that “tail” to drill into dead trees and lay her eggs on the larvae of wood-boring wasps called horntails. These wasps have no venom and cannot defend themselves. So, these wasps are perhaps not scary to people, but they must be terrifying to horntails! Females caught in the act of drilling are sometimes preyed on by skunks and other animals.
“I’ve got you under my skin” could be the theme song for victims of bot fly larvae. The most common species feed as subcutaneous parasites on rodents or rabbits, and sometimes other small mammals. Other species live in….well, you don’t want to know.
The host animal usually survives. The Human Bot Fly, found in the tropical Americas, grabs a female mosquito in mid-air, lays eggs on it, and releases it. When the mosquito bites you, your body heat causes the bot fly eggs to hatch. The tiny larvae then tunnel into your skin and begin feeding. It is a painful ordeal, but unless you get a secondary infection trying to dig it out, is never fatal.
Show Us Your Spooky Bugs
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