There are an estimated 10 quintillion—that’s 10 followed by 18 zeroes—individual insects in the world. That’s an amazing amount, especially considering there are only about 7 billion humans on earth.
We’ve outlined 6 bugs that put “creep” in creepy-crawly—which one makes you shriek the loudest?
1. Japanese Giant Hornet
By “giant” we mean about the size of your thumb. If that’s not enough to scare you, these insects can shoot a poison that melts human flesh—directly into your eyeballs. The poison also contains a pheromone that will attract every hornet in the vicinity to sting you into submission. And unlike bees, these hornets can sting until the cows come home.
2. Bot Fly
The bot fly is found all over the world in various forms with lovely names like horse stomach bot fly and sheep nose bot fly. The flies themselves aren’t much of a problem, but their maggots are. For instance, the human bot fly lays its eggs on something that might land on you, like a horsefly or mosquito. The eggs drop onto your skin, and your own body heat causes the eggs to hatch. The larvae burrow into the skin, where they live. And feed. In your skin. Worse: bot fly maggots can live essentially anywhere in your body, like inside your tear ducts or even your brain.
3. Siafu ants
Unlike other ant species, army ants don’t create permanent hives. Instead, whole colonies of over a million ants are on a constant march, only stopping long enough for the queen to lay more eggs. They don’t have any special stingers or acid venom. No, army ants simply mow things down through their sheer numbers, using their powerful jaws to shred their prey into nothingness. Some have reported army ants taking down animals as large as horses.
4. Titan beetle
These beetles look a lot like cockroaches, except that they can grow up to seven inches long. They’re so big and heavy that they can’t fly directly off the ground. Instead, they have to launch themselves from trees. They have sharp claws on their legs, but what you really have to watch out for are their jaws. Their huge mandibles are said to be so strong that they can cut straight through pencils. If that’s not enough, they make hissing sounds when they’re threatened.
5. Tongue-eating louse
With a name like that, you probably don’t need much more reason to be creeped out. This creature is technically an isopod, but it’s still plenty creepy. It operates by attaching to a fish’s tongue and sucking blood out of it until it’s a useless stub. It then attaches to the tongue and replaces it. Fortunately, these critters only go for fish.
They’re not particularly harmful to humans, but seeing a cockroach in your home is still pretty gross. What makes them particularly creepy is their hardiness. They can go as long as a month without food, and when they do eat, they can subsist on the most limited resources, like the glue on the back of a stamp. Cockroaches can also survive without their heads for up to a week. It’s not just the body that’ll run around either. The head will still wave its antenna for hours until it finally gives up.