The Scariest Types of Insects in the World

Over 5.6K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Scariest Types of Insects in the World
Voting Rules
Vote up the most terrifying species of insect you hope to never encounter in the wild.

One of humanity's most primal fears is that there is something crawling up your back right now. Seriously, you might want to check that out because a fear of insects resides in just about every one of us. There's good reason for that: there are some insect species who have absolutely no problem causing us real harm and even killing us!

Humans may think themselves the dominant lifeforms on the planet, but there are millions of species of insect species in every nook and cranny of the globe. Some of the scariest types of insects, which attack humans, serve up a healthy dose of fear.

The main problem with most insects is that you don't have to worry about one insect that attacks humans, you have to worry about a swarm of nasty bugs. You might be able to swat one pesky bug, but 10,000 of them? That's a different story. Some of the scariest bug species around are rather ugly, which is one of the reasons people fear and despise them, while others are surprisingly beautiful. Despite their appearance, there are several species of insects that are dangerous to humans and should be avoided at all costs—and many are found on this list.

Photo: Bartolucci / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 3.0

  • 1
    2,102 VOTES

    Size: 1.4" in length with a 3" wingspan.

    Location: Temperate and tropical Eastern Asia, including a subspecies in Japan.

    Distinguishing Features: Aside from being incredibly large and angry, their stinger can get up to 0.24" in length.

    Why You Should Be Scared: They don't call these the "Yak-killer Hornet" for nothing. Their sting has been described as feeling "like a hot nail being driven into my leg" and that has a lot to do with its size and the potent venom it packs. Their sting can kill if a person is susceptible to an allergic reaction. In Japan alone, their sting results in between 30 to 40 deaths each year.

    2,102 votes
  • 2
    2,187 VOTES

    Human Botfly

    Size: Very small, usually just 0.5 to 3 mm in size.

    Location: Africa, Asia, the Middle East.

    Distinguishing Features: Their most distinguishing feature has to be the fact they lay eggs in the flesh of humans. There are numerous species and subspecies of botfly, but the Human Botfly, Dermatobia Hominis, is the only one that specifically targets humans.

    Why You Should Be Scared: These otherwise adorable little flies have the nasty habit of burrowing into a person's flesh and laying an egg. As the egg develops into a maggot, it ingests the surrounding flesh and tissue, which has resulted in these guys burrowing into people's skulls. Once matured, it emerges from the wound and flies away, but they often leave a severe scar and can result in serious medical complications and even death from infection.

    2,187 votes
  • Bullet Ant
    Photo: Hans Hillewaert / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0
    1,856 VOTES

    Bullet Ant

    Size: 0.7" to 1.2" (18 to 30 mm).

    Location: Nicaragua, Honduras, and Paraguay.

    Distinguishing Features: They are small, black ants with very large mandibles compared to other ants of its size.

    Why You Should Be Scared: Bullet Ants are so named due to their incredibly painful bite, which feels like a bullet. Their sting is ranked to be the most painful of any ant as well as the most painful of all insects. It can cause "waves of burning, throbbing, all-consuming pain that continues unabated for up to 24 hours." Only one sting will do this, so people who have been bitten multiple times or by more than one Bullet Ant can be completely incapacitated by pain.

    1,856 votes
  • 4
    1,783 VOTES

    African Assassin Bug

    Size: 4 to 44 mm.

    Location: Pretty much anywhere people are: Europe, Africa, Asia; North, Central and South America.

    Distinguishing Features: They have a very large curved proboscis, which they use to stab their prey.

    Why You Should Be Scared: If they stab you with their proboscis, it's likely they will inject some of their saliva, which has the ability to liquefy its prey from the inside. This allows the insect to kill and feast on prey much larger than itself. While a sting won't result in your immediate death, it is incredibly painful and can cause severe irritation at the bite site. These bugs are highly aggressive and should be handled with extreme caution... and a baseball bat.

    1,783 votes
  • Amazonian Giant Centipede
    Photo: Katka Nemčoková / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0
    1,668 VOTES

    Amazonian Giant Centipede

    Size: Up to 12" (30 cm).

    Location: South America and the Caribbean.

    Distinguishing Features: They are unusually large for an arthropod and they possess a deadly venom.

    Why You Should Be Scared: Generally speaking, the Amazonian Giant Centipede isn't a danger to humans, but at least one death has been attributed to one. A four-year-old child in Venezuela was bitten by one hiding in a soda can, which resulted in the child's death. They often feed on small birds, lizards, frogs, snakes, and bats, but they would feed on humans if they could... they just aren't large enough... yet.

    1,668 votes
  • Africanised Honey Bee
    Photo: Jeffrey W. Lotz, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 3.0
    1,543 VOTES

    Africanised Honey Bee

    Size: No larger than most bee species, but their hive can consist of thousands of individuals.

    Location: South America (They were introduced in Brazil), Central America, and Texas

    Distinguishing Features: Their nasty disposition would have to be their most distinguishing feature. They look like most species of honeybees, but can be identified by the fact that a giant swarm of them are chasing you.

    Why You Should Be Scared: They call these "Killer Bees" due to their unusually aggressive behavior. If you happen to go near their nests, they respond much more defensively than other species of bees and have been known to chase people up to a quarter of a mile from their hives. People succumb to their stings due to the overwhelming number a single colony can afflict. Since they were introduced in the 1950s, they have killed over 1,000 humans and typically kill horses and other large animals who stray too close to their homes.

    1,543 votes