The World’s Deadliest Bugs

Zika pregnancy fear medical concept and virus danger concept as an infectious mosquito casting a shadow of the insect on the pregnant abdomen belly of a woman victim spreading disease in a 3D illustration style.

During the warm summer months, people are more likely to come in contact with wildlife and suffer the consequences. It’s common to hear stories about shark attacks or violent bear encounters, but much smaller animals pose a much bigger threat during the summer.

Insects will kill more people this summer than all other animals combined. Although bugs can be deadly, most of our fears about insects are strictly psychological. The fact that bugs can bite, sting and infect us causes some people to fear all insects across the board. In reality, only a few insects pose a real threat.

Which insects should you actually be scared of? The list below highlights summer bugs that could be deadly if you’re not careful.


It seems like every summer there’s a new mosquito-borne illness. Last year the Zika virus highlighted just how dangerous mosquitoes can be when they carry disease. But that’s just the latest in a long list of diseases that include West Nile Virus, yellow fever and malaria among others.

Mosquitoes are what’s called primary vectors. A vector is an organism that spreads diseases to their hosts. In the case of mosquitoes, disease is spread by their bite. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1 million people a year die from infections that are transmitted by mosquitoes. That means mosquitoes are by far the deadliest summer insect.

Mosquito control is extremely important here in the southeast where the climate is perfect for breeding and feeding. The most important thing you can do is eliminate standing water, which is needed for mosquitoes to lay their eggs.

Bees and Wasps

No one wants to get stung, but for some people stinging insects can be deadly. Anyone who’s allergic to bee or wasp venom could find themselves in a dangerous situation after just one sting. The reaction to the venom can cause a person to go into anaphylactic shock within minutes. Medical devices like EpiPens have saved people from allergic reactions, but in the U.S. 53 people a year still die as a result of a bee, hornet or wasp sting.

Killer bees get a lot of attention, but the giant Japanese hornet is particularly dangerous due to its size. At nearly two inches long, they’re the largest hornet on the planet. Although giant Japanese hornets aren’t common, this aggressive insect causes about 40 deaths a year worldwide.

Kissing Bugs

If you follow our blog, you may remember a post we did a while back about the dangers of kissing bugs in Alabama. Kissing bugs, also known as triatomines, are one of those nasty bugs that will crawl on you while you sleep. They get their name because they have a habit of biting people on the lips. But that’s not the worst part. Kissing bugs can carry trypanosoma cruzi parasites that spread an infection called chaga disease. The disease is responsible for around 12,000 deaths a year.


You may be surprised to see locusts on the list since they don’t bite or sting people, but they do something far worse. Locusts, a species of grasshopper, devour crops and have been known to create famines they cause many deaths. In a matter of hours, locusts can completely decimate an area.

Black Widow

The most infamous insect in the animal kingdom is the black widow. Everything about this spider, from its name to the red hourglass on its stomach, is ominous. Each year there are seven deaths in the U.S. attributed to spider bites, and most are delivered by the black widow.


Alone an ant isn’t much of a threat. But in a colony with thousands of other ants, animals and humans have to be careful. Ants work together to build massive nests and attack when they sense a threat. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) notes that approximately nine Americans are killed each year by non-venomous arthropods.

Some of the most dangerous ant species include:

  •  Fire ants
  • African ants
  • Driver ants
  • Bullet ants
  • Army ants


Ticks are another insect that’s known to spread disease. The most common disease that can be transmitted is Lyme disease. Few people die of Lyme disease, however it can produce painful symptoms for the rest of a person’s life. Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is another deadly disease carried by ticks. Over the last decade RMSF cases have increased to from two infections for every million people to six infections for every million people in the U.S.

Each summer there’s an uptick in tick bites because ticks become active when the weather warms up. One of the biggest issues with ticks is they can be found in all types of environments. No matter where you live there’s a chance you’ll come in contact with ticks. The other dangerous thing about tick bites is they can go unnoticed for a while. Unlike a mosquito bite that hurts and itches almost immediately, ticks will covertly sink their jaws in without the host knowing.

There’s no reason to fear the outdoors this summer when you have Vulcan Termite and Pest Control Inc. on your side! Give us a call to learn how we can create custom pest control treatments that address the real threats on your property.

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