Wasps and Hornets

What is the world's most deadly insect?


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There are a lot of different insects that are dangerous and it depends on what qualities that you consider to be deadly, or dangerous. The kinds of insects that many people usually view as dangerous are the ones that sting.

Three Types of Deadly

That is really three questions in one. It could mean which insect has the most venomous sting, which insect has the most dangerous venom but does not sting, or which insect causes the highest mortality rate.And is more powerful then all the venem from all of the poisonius creatures in the world.

Mosquito - Deadly by Spreading Disease

It is said, that the world's deadliest insect is the Anopheles Mosquito because of it's capability to spread Malaria. This dease has killed millions of humans.

Malaria is transmitted from man to man by the female anopheles mosquito, one of the most capable vectors of human disease.

Apart from malaria, anopheles mosquitoes are also known to transmit W. bancrofti (filarial worm); the Timorese filaria, Brugia timori; several arboviruses including eastern and western equine encephalitis, Venezualan equine encephalitis, onyong-nyong, tataguine etc.

Honey Bee - Deadly by Causing Allergic Reaction

Firstly the most venomous sting insect. In the USA alone 23 people a year die from bee and wasp stings. Usually an insect's sting is quite harmless for humans and only a slight skin reaction occurs, but a few people suffer very severe reactions. When stung, a few people can go into anaphylactic shock and experience difficulty breathing, difficulty in swallowing, a sharp fall in blood pressure, collapse, unconsciousness and even death.

The most dangerous insect in this category is the honey bee, and accounts for as many human deaths as all the species of snake cause put together. However, nearly all of the deaths caused by these insects are due to allergic reactions and not to the venom itself.

Ants - Deadly by Potency of Venom

The insect that has the most potent venom belongs to the ants in the Pogonomyrmex genus. This tiny little insect can kill a 2kg mammal (such as a rat or a rabbit) with only twelve stings. These ants could kill a human with between 350 to 450 stings, without an allergic reaction taking place. To put this in perspective, to get the same reaction from a honey bee, it would take well over 10,000 stings.

Blister Beetle - Deadly by Toxicity

Now for the most venomous insect that does do not sting. These are only dangerous in they are ingested or touched. There are a few caterpillars in this category and two groups of beetle, but the most venomous is the Blister Beetle. There are around 2000 species of blister beetle worldwide, and when they occur in large numbers they can cause a large problem for livestock. The Blister Beetle produces a toxin called Cantharidin, a chemical that cause blistering on the skin and if eaten also inside the intestine tissue. These beetles live in grass and hay, the natural food source for many animals and when they are eaten by these grazers, it can cause them serious harm. A cow or horse need only eat 10 or so beetles accidentally to become seriously ill, and this is likely to kill the animal.

And the Winner is... Well, it's a three-way tie

However, the Blister Beetle might be the most toxic, but it is not the insect that causes the most deaths. This title belongs to the Mosquito, but how does it kill with out venom or poison? The Mosquito carries many potentially dangerous diseases and as the move from one person, or animal, to another, they infect the new host with these diseases. The Mosquito with the most infamous reputation is that of the Anopheles genus. In Africa alone this tiny insect kills one child under the age of five every thirty seconds. That totals around 3000 every day and nearly one and half million in a single year. The mosquito is also known for transmitting malaria and this claims the lives of around one to three million people every year. Even if a person survives the first stages of malaria, it is a disease that they will have to battle for the rest of their lives, and will most probably result in death years after the first infection. It is commonly agreed that malaria is one of the top killers in the world, and the main cause of infection results from the tiny mosquito.

The Deadly Conclusion

So the insect with the most venomous sting is the Honey Bee, the insect with the most toxic venom is the Blister Beetle, although this is only dangerous if eaten, but the insect that causes the most deaths is the common Mosquito.