Being afraid of bugs is pretty much genetically built into our code as humans. You don't have to look long to find some creepy facts about bugs, but there's always more to fear when it comes to these atrocious arthropods. We may be the dominant lifeform on this planet, but bugs outnumber us by quintillions.
In the rich tapestry of weird bug facts, the ones on this list make for the kind of cosmic cocktail that would make H.P. Lovecraft proud. More than anything, they make one thing unmistakably clear: Though bugs may be smaller than us, we are powerless against their most lethal capability.
If you think bugs are gross now, you can thank your lucky stars you didn't grow up during the Carboniferous Period. That era took place between 359 to 299 million years ago, and it was home to some of the largest bugs to ever exist. Our atmosphere consisted of 35% oxygen back then, significantly more than the 21% level we have today. Scientists believe the high levels of oxygen were responsible for the mammoth insects and arthropods of the period.
Back then, you could find dragonflies the size of seagulls, with 2.5-foot wingspans. There were cockroaches and scorpions that grew up to 3 feet long. There was even a species of millipede that grew to be larger than the average human.
Everyone's heard the myth about people accidentally eating spiders in their sleep, but you don't have to be unconscious to accidentally eat a bug. Insects are pretty much a part of our daily diet. The FDA has a legal allowance of how many bugs can end up in your food before it's a problem.
For example, regular coffee drinkers are legally allowed to ingest as many as 136,000 insect parts every year. If you consume any products made from wheat flour, you're eating as many as 91,000 insect parts annually.
The bad news is there are demodex mites on your face right now. The good news is that they're harmless. There are two species of mite that live exclusively on our faces: Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis. They aren't insects but arthropods and closely related to insects like spiders and scorpions.
These creatures inhabit two different environments on your face. D. folliculorum tend to make their homes inside facial pores. D. brevis lives in your sebaceous glands, which is responsible for excreting certain oils from your hair follicles.
From the Old Testament to the present day, locust swarms can wreak havoc of biblical proportions. In the 1870s, one such swarm descended out of the Rocky Mountains and laid waste to the Great Plains. One farmer reported losing 15 acres' worth of corn in just three hours. A single locust swarm can cover as much as 20% of the entire planet's land area at once, consuming 200 tons of plant matter in a single day. Just five of these swarms would be enough to cover all the land on Earth and, having wiped out the world's agricultural industry, would likely lead to mass starvation.
Once locusts run out of food, it's likely they would start eating each other next. Research has shown that swarming locusts are not above cannibalism - it's actually the most efficient way for them to get some protein and salt in their diet.