I recently found at least 50 of these little bugs roaming around my window sills indoors in my bedroom right behind the head of my bed. I can't seem to find what they are. I'd love tips on what they are or how to get rid of them. They're extremely small probably no larger than 1 mm. I tried vacuuming them away but I still see plenty of them.
These are very likely mites (notice their small size and 8 legs). Based on their size, appearance, and abundance, I'd guess they're bird mites (family Macronyssidae). Since they're near your window, I assume you either have a bird nest outside your window or frequent bird visitors to your window.
Credit: user Aewills on bugguide.com
you can find existing posts about bird mites on Bio.Stackexchange below:
What are Those Tiny White Bugs in or around Your Home?
Nobody wants to find a bug in their home, and it can be even worse when you don’t know what kind of insect it is. If you see tiny white bugs in your house, they could be any number of pests. And the type of pest largely depends on where you find it. Learn about some common white bugs and find out which ones may pose a threat to your home.
What are those tiny white bugs all over my yard?
The tiny, fuzzy white creatures don't bite, but many hate the sight of them.
(WBIR) - You&aposve probably seen them. They are tiny, fuzzy white creatures - flying all over. They&aposre called aphids. They don&apost bite, but many hate the sight of them.
Whether she&aposs at home or at work, there&aposs something just getting on Brooke McMahan&aposs nerves.
"They&aposre flying, they&aposre sticking to your clothes they&aposre sticking to your hair,” she explained.
Those teeny aphids get really active in early fall. They&aposre practically all over the place in East Tennessee.
Brooke reached out to us online to get some specific answers.
"What are they, where are they coming from, and what can we do about them,” she asked.
We turned to the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture to see if we could get Brooke some help.
"This particular aphid is the Asian wooly hackberry aphid,” explained Ag Extension agent David Vandergriff.
The insects don&apost bite or eat plants, but they do suck - literally.
"They suck the sap out of the leaves and don&apost digest all of it. So some of that sugary substrate then floats and settles underneath the hackberry tree,” explained Vandergriff.
You&aposve probably seen the black moldy looking substance they leave behind on your car or on the leaves of certain trees. That&aposs known as sooty mold, and it&aposs a fungi that grows in the substrate left behind by the aphids.
So why are the aphids only appearing now? Vandergriff said it&aposs because the temperatures and moisture levels are just right to support a population boom.
So what can we do about them?
David Vandergriff explains there&aposs two treatment options - insecticide or tree removal.oth are expensive and removal isn&apost always an option.
"No, this tree is very special we planted it the year my nephew was born,” McMahan said describing the tree in her front yard.
Vandergriff says there&aposs no aphid spray to keep them off you like mosquito spray, but these insects won&apost be sticking around for long. Once we see our first frost, they should disappear. just in time for stink bugs to make a comeback!
Clover Mites and Clover Mite Control
The full-grown clover mite is slightly smaller than a pin head and has a bright reddish to reddish-brown body. They typically appear in large numbers.
Clover mites look like dark red specks crawling around siding, doors, windows, drapes, curtains and furniture. When crushed, clover mites leave a red stain. The stain is not blood, it's just their natural color.
The front legs are as long as the body, and extend forward.
Clover Mite Biology and Habits
- Clover mites are an arachnid, a close relative of spiders and ticks
- Clover mites leave a red stain when crushed.
- Clover mites feed on grasses, clovers, and certain other plants in the lawn and around the home.
- They often crawl into cracks and crevices to molt and lay eggs. Typical "hiding places" are under the loose bark of trees, on foundation walls, beneath siding, and around window frames
- Clover mites do not damage buildings and furnishings, nor do they injure humans and pets.
- They attack a number of grasses and plants found in yards.
- Clover mites are plant feeders that have been found infesting more than 200 different plant. They suck the sap.
- They can live off algae and mold.
- Clover mites live close by and on their food sources.
- They become a real nuisance upon migration into buildings.
- Heavy migrations of clover mites into houses are common in the early summer and fall.
- Clover mites build up large populations around structures surrounded with lush, well-fertilized lawns and shrubbery.
- Large populations of clover mites may occur on the flat roofs of commercial buildings and are associated with moss growth.
- Clover mite females lay about 70 eggs each.
- They lay eggs in the crevices of buildings, under sidings, and on the underside of bark at the base of trees.
- Clover mites eggs do not hatch below 40 degrees F or above 86 degrees F.
- They lay their eggs during the spring.
- After eggs hatch, the newly emerged immature clover mites move to find hosts, molt, and pass through two nymphal stages.
- Clover mites in the egg stage may either hibernate (overwinter) or become dormant during the summer under tree bark, in cracks of fence posts and foundation walls, under sheathing of buildings or in other dry protected sites, during adverse weather conditions.
- Clover mites are most troublesome in early spring and again in fall, especially on the east and south sides of buildings.
- They can be found randomly through the house, but very frequently on the south side of the house because of the warmth.
- PA. Dept. of Agriculture : Clover Mites
James Kalisch, Department of Entomology, UNL
Barb Ogg, UNL Extension in Lancaster County
Clover Mite Control Measures
The most effective prevention is removing any grass and weeds up to 24 inches away from the foundation of the house.
Placing a plant-free band of gravel, coarse sand, marbles, lava rock, or wood chips around the foundation helps keep clover mites away from the structure. Clover mites have difficulty crossing such barriers.
Avoid excessive watering and fertilization near the structure, to avoid the lush growth of host plants close to the house.
If the mites have already invaded the home causing an infestation, chemical controls, such as Bifen IT will solve the problem.
Bifen IT can be applied to lower foundational exterior walls up to the first floor window. A 10 to 20 foot wide strip of nearby lawn where the mites are found during their invasion period should be sprayed also. Thorough treatment is required for consistent results. Sprays are usually applied at the rate of 15-20 gallons of finished spray per 1,000 square feet.
Hose End Sprayers, make the job much easier and helps with consistent application.
Spray the walls and foundation to the point of runoff and the vegetation until it is entirely wet.
Use a vacuum cleaner inside the structure to pick up the live mites without crushing them so that they don't stain. Dispose of the vacuum bag.
What Are Flour Bugs and Should I Be Worried About Accidentally Eating Them?
You might call them flour bugs, flour beetles, flour weevils, or even flour mites𠅋ut there&aposs one thing for certain. These pests are nasty. After you&aposve had flour bugs invade your pantry once, you&aposll do everything in your power to prevent flour bugs from entering your home again. But what are flour bugs, exactly? It turns out that there are several different types of bugs that might invade and destroy your bags of flour and boxes of cereal, all of which are generally referred to as flour bugs or weevils. But the most common bugs that you&aposll find in your flour are technically beetles.
As their name suggests, flour beetles are attracted to flour, though experts at the pest-control company Orkin note that these bugs don&apost attack whole wheat flour. So you could just switch to using exclusively whole wheat flour if you&aposre really committed to preventing flour bug infestations, but that seems unlikely and unrealistic.
Ultimately, it&aposs hard to prevent an infestation of flour bugs because these bugs are everywhere, from the mill where the flour is made to your home. Plus, flour bugs are sneaky. "The female beetle deposits eggs into food or into crevices in food packages," explain the folks at Orkin. "The larvae hatch and make their way into the product to eat." And the eggs are so small that they&aposre hard to see in the flour itself, and more often than not, you don&apost know you&aposre using flour infested with flour bugs until you can actually see the little pests, wiggling around the bag.
But there are a few tried and true ways to prevent flour weevil infestations. The first is to store your flour correctly: in an air-tight, sealed container instead of a paper bag. That prevents bugs from laying eggs in your stash, but that doesn&apost help if the bugs infested the flour at the mill or grocery store. If you&aposre really feeling strongly about it, you can freeze your flour for about a week before using it. That&aposll kill any bugs that might be living in it𠅊nd storing flour in the freezer is actually a good way to keep it fresh for as long as possible.
If you can&apost successfully prevent flour weevils from getting into your pantry, you&aposll unfortunately have to dump everything. But hey, that&aposs better than eating bugs.
Tiny whiteflies seem to be bugging people across the Central Coast, but why are there so many this year?
Tiny white bugs are flying around local streets in mass numbers and it has many people confused.
People are mistaking them for clouds of pollen or ash, but they are small bugs that could be harmful to your plants.
Some local garden masters say this year is bringing the most they have ever seen.
“I am seeing them all over,” said Michael McCombs. “It’s like a snowstorm coming at you.”
These little bugs called whitefly seem to be taking over central coast towns.
Okay I walked out of my house this morning and thought a cloud of pollen was in flying in front of me… NOPE!! It’s these little guys (whitefly) and they seem to be everywhere!! Have you seen them? @KSBY 10/11pm I’ll tell you why there are so many recently pic.twitter.com/MsGBFWnT4h
— Megan Healy (@HealyMegan) April 2, 2019
McCombs has lived in the area since 1946 and usually sees whitefly this time of year, but never this many.
“They will be so dense that you’ll get that feeling of maybe I should close my mouth,” said McCombs. “I know I’m going to suck down two or three of these.”
Whiteflies are tiny, sap-eating winged insects that damage the leaves of plants but don’t kill them.
A master gardener from the SLO University of California Cooperative Extension says dozens of people from south SLO County called asking why there are so many.
“It’s probably a reflection of the increasing temperatures coming on top of all that nice water we have had, so we have had a flush of vegetation and the flies that came from eggs originally have just all hopped out,” said Cathryn Howarth, a master gardener a the SLO County UC Cooperative Extension.
According to the UC Agricultural and Natural Resources Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, signs of whitefly manifestation include:
- Tiny nymphs on the underside of leaves
- Sticky honeydew (white, sticky substance) on leaves or a covering of black sooty mold
- Yellowing or silvering or drying of leaves that have whitefly nymphs on them
She says each fly can lay up to 400 eggs.
Whiteflies seem to be hatching recently due to warmer temperatures and lots of rainfall.
You can usually find them on the back sides of leaves or flying in the air.
“They weaken the plants especially young seedlings, young plants that aren’t fully established, but on the whole they are usually more of a nuisance.”
Some species are attracted to plants like hibiscus flowers, oak trea leaves, tomatoes, eggplants, cabbage, bell peppers and sweet potatoes, but there are ways to keep them from harming your garden.
“I take a sprayer that’s got a mix of vinegar and household detergent in it and water of course and i try to spray it, the back sides of all the leaves,” said McCombs.
Experts say spraying with water will help the bugs disperse.
“Use a hose and hose them off and then use a spray of insecticidal soap if you want to cut down because they will return to their roost once you spray them away,” said Howarth.
You can also prevent them by using reflective mulches, avoiding dust, choosing less susceptible plants and eliminated pesticides that kill whitefly’s natural enemies.
Those natural enemies include ladybugs, spiders, lacewigs and hummingbirds.
Garden masters say you can generally see them during spring and throughout summer, but they will eventually die down.
They say if you have young plants, make sure you are watching out for them especially in the mornings and evenings.
Are There Really Little Bugs in Your Strawberries?
The internet i s freaking out about a TikTok video (and accompanying Buzzfeed article ) showing what appear to be little worm-like bugs crawling out of fresh strawberries soaked in salt water . Is this for real? Have we been unknowingly enjoying larvae in our triple-berry parfaits? Should we just never eat fruit again? I talked to some experts to find out.
Here’s the short answer: this is a real thing that can happen, but it’s not common. An d n either the food safety experts nor the bug experts advise washing your fruit in salt water.
What is actually happening in this video?
Krista Torres, who made the video, writes: “I filled a bowl with room temperature water, poured in a shit ton of sea salt (like five large spoonfuls), put the strawberries in, and waited about 30 minutes.” She then notes little white wormy things crawling out of the strawberries, and concludes that they are the larvae of spotted-wing fruit flies , Drosophila suzukii.
It’s not clear from the video whether she’s identified the species correctly, but more about that in a minute.
The salt water soak is actually a technique that growers and wholesalers use to check for fly larvae in berries, entomologist Hannah Burrack told me. She helps berry farmers with pest management at North Carolina State University. Berries are sold from growers to wholesalers (who package them into those clamshell boxes) and from there, resold to supermarkets. “If [the wholesalers] find larvae in the fruit coming from the grower, they will send all of that fruit from that grower right on back,” says Burrack.
Since they only test a sample of the fruit in each shipment, there’s no guarantee that the rest of the berries are larvae-free, but the general idea here is to minimize the chances of any bug-filled berries making it into the supply chain .
Are there bugs like this in all strawberries?
No. B ut there are probably bugs in some strawberries .
You know fruit flies, right? Those little tiny guys that show up around overripe fruit you’ve left on your counter too long? They’re often Drosophila melanogaster or Drosophila simulans, Burrack says, if not one of their relatives. The adults, which you’ve seen and swatted away a million times, reproduce by laying their near-microscopic eggs in the soft parts of fruit. The eggs hatch into itty-bitty larvae—aka maggots—which look exactly like the “worms” in the TikTok video. Eventually the larvae grow bigger and turn into flies, and the circle of life repeats.
Usually you find these guys in fruit that’s damaged or overripe, but there is a species called Drosophila suzukii that uses a saw-toothed ovipositor (a, uh, butt spike) to inject its eggs into fresh berries while the fruit is still growing on the plant.
As the Buzzfeed article puts it, “the females shoot their eggs into the interior of fruits that are just beginning to ripen, especially blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. MEANING THESE BUGS ARE LIKELY IN ALL BERRIES!”
But Burrack tells me that there’s no way to know whether the larvae in the video are D. suzukii, since all Drosophila larvae look alike. And since growers and wholesalers do their best to keep D. suzukii out of the food supply, it’s not very likely: These larvae could just as well be from a fruit fly that was buzzing around the grocery store or Krista Torres’ kitchen.
Would it be harmful to accidentally eat these bugs?
Nope. T he idea they are lurking within your berries may be unappetizing, but they’re not going to hurt you. “You can eat them, but kinda gross,” says Ben Chapman , a food safety specialist from North Carolina State University.
“‘Natural’ protein,” tweeted food safety specialist Courtney Crist when I asked about it.
“If you’re eating berries I would assume you have probably eaten these at one point,” says entomologist Joe Ballenger .
Excuse me, bugs in food are gross
A valid point. But since you brought it up: T his is nothing new. Did you know that vegetables are grown outside, in dirt, and that there are lots of bugs out there? Ballenger casually mentioned he’ d picked a plant bug (that is, I am not joking, its actual name) out of his lettuce recently. Plant bugs inject their saliva into leaves and then suck out the resulting slurry. You have probably eaten a lot of plant bug spit.
Similarly, Chapman noted that worms in fresh fish are so common, sushi restaurants are required to freeze raw fish before serving it to kill any worms. Which mean t he worms are still there, they’re just dead.
I could go on, but I won’t. Suffice it to say, y ou’ve probably eaten a lot of things you’d rather not think about. Or as Ballenger puts it: “If you look too closely at it, pretty much anything is gross.”
Okay, so what should I actually do with my strawberries?
Everybody I talked to said the same thing: you don’t need to soak them in salt water or do anything special. A regular rinse is fine.
Burrack points out that you should keep your berries in the fridge. This makes them last longer and it keeps them away from the fruit flies buzzing around your counter. B onus: A fter three days of refrigeration, any fruit fly eggs or larvae in your berries will likely be dead, at least.
All the classic strawberry-keeping advice still applies, the other biggie being to not wash your berries until you’re ready to eat them. Washing can damage the berries slightly, creating opportunities for mold and microbes to get under the skin. So just take the handful of berries you intend to eat, wash those, and leave the rest in the fridge until next time.
|Common Name(s)||Whiteflies, citrus whitefly, ash whitefly, greenhouse whitefly, and many other related names|
|Scientific Name(s)||Multiple, all in the Aleyrodidae family of insects|
|Plants Affected||Most agricultural crops (especially brassicas, tomatoes, capsicum and citrus), some ornamentals, some medicinal crops|
|Common Remedies||Removal of pests (with water or vacuum), garlic sprays, insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, pyrethrin-based sprays, yellow sticky traps, whitefly predators (such as ladybugs, lacewings, whitefly parasite, hummingbirds, and dragonflies), neem oil, reflective mulches, and sticky ant traps around fruit trees|
Life Cycle Of Whiteflies
Rings of whitefly eggs on a leaf. Source: Scot Nelson
In the latter part of spring, whitefly adults place their eggs on the undersides of leaves. Typically, these are done in concentric patterns, towards the upper portion of the plant. An adult whitefly can produce 200-400 eggs.
Five to ten days later, the whitefly eggs will hatch into nymphs. The first instar, or larval phase, the nymphs are referred to as crawlers. They move a short distance away from their egg and then flatten against the leaf to feed. There are a total of four instars, but once the crawler has picked its location, it remains there throughout further instars.
These nymphal stages can be hard to identify. Once they’ve stopped crawling and latched onto the leaf, they look very similar to scale insects. Often their coloration blends in with the leaf they’re on, or is slightly paler in hue.
After the nymphal stages have concluded, the whitefly larva will pupate. Within a week, the whitefly emerges from its old skin as a new adult to begin its own egg-laying process. These tiny white flying bugs can live for a couple months as adults before dying off.
Common Habitats For Whiteflies
Some whiteflies on a leaf. Source: Fluffymuppet
Whiteflies live the majority of their lives on or near their host plants. While adults can fly and thus can find new plants to lay eggs on, the nymphs don’t leave their food source.
Nymphs overwinter on their host plants on the underside of leaves, where they’ve latched on to feed. However, they don’t tolerate extremely cold climates well and will die off if they are exposed to freezing conditions.
This makes them a common greenhouse pest, as the climate inside a greenhouse is usually warm enough for them to survive. In fact, there is a particular species of whitefly, the greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum) which tends to live most of its lifespan indoors!
Adult whiteflies cannot survive for more than a few days without feeding on plant sap. If you’ve found tiny white bugs on plants, you may have found whiteflies. They may be eating, laying eggs, or sheltering from inclement weather.
What Do Whiteflies Eat?
Citrus whiteflies. Source: Scot Nelson
Both adults and nymphs feed on plant sap. However, different species of whiteflies feed on different kinds of plants. For instance, the cabbage whitefly (Aleyrodes proletella) feeds on brassica species.
There are whiteflies that feed on a wide range of different agricultural crops, including citrus, most vegetables and fruits, and some ornamental plants. Worse yet, whiteflies are a vector for nearly a hundred different plant diseases, and can spread those diseases during feeding.
They also leave behind honeydew, a sticky substance that can develop black mold or other fungal issues.
The bugs that lay eggs all over your body
Narrator: For some bug babies, your body is home sweet home. Human botfly larvae, for example, burrow under your skin, forming a pus-filled pimple. Meanwhile, thousands of young Loa loa worms can travel throughout your body —even across your eyeball! The following is a transcript of the video.
In 2018, a cockroach crawled inside a sleeping man's ear and laid an egg sac. Luckily, roaches don't go out of their way to do this, so it doesn't happen very often. But there are a bunch of other unsavory bugs that will lay eggs all over your body — on purpose.
First up, the human botfly. These insects, which are native to Central and South America, glue their eggs to mosquitoes and other blood-sucking insects. When the mosquito bites a victim, the eggs hatch. Then the larvae wriggle into your skin, creating a painful pimple that leaks pus. Or, as the baby botflies call it, lunch. After 5 to 10 weeks, they escape. And not long after that, they reach adulthood, ready to mate and start the cycle all over.
Another tropical parasite: Tunga penetrans. More commonly known as the sand flea.
Females burrow into the bottom of your foot to slurp your blood. They start off smaller than a grain of sand. but grow to 2,000 TIMES their size within a week as they swell with your blood and up to 200 eggs. Those eggs fall to the ground and hatch waiting for the next bare foot to pass by.
But some egg-laying parasites go more than just skin deep. Tapeworms, for example, invade your intestines. Adults can stretch longer than a bowling lane and block up your digestive system. But it gets worse. Because they lay tens of thousands of eggs. Which can hatch and migrate, spreading throughout your lungs, muscles, and even your brain.
If that sounds gruesome, wait till you hear about the loa loa worm. It can be passed from human to human by hitching a ride inside deerflies. When the flies bite you, the larvae enter through the wound. After five months growing beneath your skin, they reach adulthood and release thousands of embryos a day. The embryos then travel throughout your body. Sometimes you can even see the worms moving under your skin or across your eyeball.
But not EVERY egg-laying invader is sinister. Face mites are pretty innocuous. They live on pretty much EVERYONE's face. and most people never notice. After all, they feed on facial oil, not flesh. And when it comes time to breed, females lay just a single egg in your pores. Even better, researchers can study your face mites to track how your ancestors migrated across the planet. Because we usually pass them from parent to child, so the mites stay in the family.
But face mites aren't the only helpful bug around. Green bottle flies might be useful in medicine. They lay eggs inside open wounds. Then the maggots hatch and devour the damaged flesh. That sounds brutal but we might one day be able to harness this process to treat diabetic foot ulcers and other slow-healing wounds. Because when the maggots go to town, they actually clean the area and remove dead tissue. They even secrete proteins that reduce inflammation!
So maybe botflies, fleas, and tapeworms could learn a thing or two, and make themselves useful if they're going to visit.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This video was originally published in November 2019.
The 50 Most Dangerous Bugs in America
Spiders and ants are bad. The tarantula hawk is (much) worse.
When you think of deathly, dangerous bugs, it's a good bet you think of some myth-like monster in some far-flung locale. You know, the Tse Tse fly in Tanzania, or the wandering spider in Brazil. It might feel like the United States is an insect-free oasis—at least compared to Australia, where spiders literally fall like raindrops, by the thousands, in a terrifying phenomenon aptly dubbed, "spider rain." But the unfortunate reality is that dangerous insects are likely lurking in your own backyard.
Yes, America is home to several species of spiders, scorpions, and even caterpillars that pose a serious threat to your health—in some cases causing paralysis or even death. To help you identify any potential dangers, we've compiled a compendium of the most dangerous bugs in the United States.
The black widow might not be much bigger than the average paper clip, but it's certainly more dangerous. According to National Geographic, its venom is 15 times more potent than that of a rattlesnake—though, contrary to common myths, few people ever perish at the hands of the small spider. Rather, a black widow bite can cause muscle aches, nausea, and difficulty breathing.
The good news is that the red widow spider is only found in certain parts of Florida. The bad news is that should you get bitten by one, the venom is a neurotoxin and can potentially cause permanent muscle spasms.
The Africanized honey bee, or killer bee, was first introduced to America after an experiment gone wrong, according to the Smithsonian. In the 1950s, colonies of African honey bees were brought into Brazil for cross-breeding in order to increase honey output. Unfortunately, some of the African queens and worker bees made an escape and bred instead with European honey bees, creating the killer bee hybrid. By 1990, these killer bugs found their way into southern Texas, and in 2014 scientists documented them in San Francisco.
What makes these bees "killer" is the fact that they are ten times faster than European honey bees and are much more aggressive. "Africanized bees respond to colony disturbance more quickly, in greater numbers, and with more stinging," according to research from 1982. In the past 50 years, the brutal bugs have been responsible for hundreds of deaths, so make sure to keep your distance.
Commonly found in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and California, the Arizona bark scorpion is one of the most dangerous scorpions known to the United States. A person stung by this thin-tailed creature can experience painful swelling, breathing difficulties, and muscle spasms, and should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Residents of the south-central and midwestern United States, watch out. Lurking in your woods (and possibly even in your closets) are small, brown spiders with venom that can potentially make you sick and scar your skin, according to the University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment. These arachnids, known as brown recluse spiders, aren't vicious in nature, but come into contact with one by accident (say, for instance, if you roll over one in your sleep) and risk getting bitten.
Ants are completely harmless, right? Wrong. Found in the western United States (primarily in Texas), Red harvester ants—or worker ants—are foragers with a brutal bite. Though they don't attack unless provoked, a red harvester's sting is "bold and unrelenting, like somebody using a drill to excavate your ingrown toenail," as Insect Defenses co-author Justin Schmidt explained to Travel & Leisure.
Red harvesters aren't the only ants you have to be on the lookout for. Any resident of a southern state will be able to tell you that fire ants are just as ruthless, with a hive mentality that causes them to gang up on intruders and in severe cases, even kill them. One species of fire ants, known as red imported fire ants, has become such a problem that it's now considered an "invasive" species in the United States.
Striped bark scorpions can be found in states like Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Colorado, and Louisiana. Their stings pack a punch that can last a few days, but no deaths have ever been attributed to them.
While not as hostile as yellowjackets, paper wasps will sting you should you encroach on their territory—and it will hurt. Their stings occasionally cause allergic reactions, but otherwise they are all bark and no bite (as in, you really have nothing to worry about from a health perspective.)
Residents of New England and the Midwest should watch out for the yellow sac spider. According to a report from Michigan State University, the small arachnid is responsible for more bites than any other species of spider, and they will attack "without provocation." A sac spider bite is painful for the first 10 hours or so and might cause bruising and blistering, but it almost never results in anything serious or life-threatening.
In the summertime, those who reside in the South are warned to watch out for io moth caterpillars. One man in Louisiana who was stung by one told KPLC that the bite was "excruciating." "It wasn't just like a bee sting," he explained.
People sometimes keep tarantulas as pets (and for what reason, we aren't entirely sure), but these furry spiders can actually be pretty dangerous. Tarantulas don't attack often, but when they do, their bites can cause redness, swelling, and even muscle spasms, as was the case for one man in Switzerland who was bitten by his pet tarantula during feeding time.
Remember the plague that wiped out a majority of the world's population in the Middle Ages? Well, you can thank oriental rat fleas for that one. Rats might have been the vessels spreading the plague, but it was oriental rat fleas who actually carried the disease. And though the plague is rare today, it still exists in parts of California, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico, thanks to these fleas.
The wheel bug is a member of the assassin bug family, so named because of their tendency to capture prey with a quick stab of their mouthparts. Wheel bugs will generally only attack large insects, but if picked up and prodded by a human, they aren't afraid to bite. And though their bites aren't fatal, Texas A&M's Agrilife Extension describes them as "immediately and intensely painful."
If you live in a big city, then chances are that you've encountered a cockroach crawling in the crevices of your apartment. But while most of us only consider cockroaches as a threat to our groceries, it turns out that these giant bugs also bite. Cockroaches will eat anything—including human flesh—and so they might nip you if they get hungry. Areas of interest include feet, hands, fingernails, and eyelashes.
The tarantula hawk is one of the most venomous insects in the world. But lucky for us, this spider wasp's target is not human, but arachnid. As its name suggests, these insects have a habit of hunting large tarantulas—and they are able to do so thanks to their paralyzing venom. For a human, a tarantula hawk bite will feel "instantaneous, electrifying, and totally debilitating," according to Schmidt, but it isn't strong enough to paralyze you.
People really need to keep their dangerous insects on a tighter leash. In 1975, the German yellowjacket was accidentally introduced into the United States in Ohio, and the buzzing bullies have been a problem ever since. Yellowjackets will build their nests wherever they can find space—like in attics and under roofs—and should you disturb them, they aren't afraid to sting you…repeatedly. To prevent a painful situation, avoid leaving out food (they love anything sweet) and always keep your doorways and windows protected by a screen.
Regular houseflies are nothing to be afraid of. Botflies, on the other hand, are a menace. They lay their eggs on mosquitos, and those eggs subsequently end up on humans. When they hatch, the larvae burrow into the host's skin and become parasitic.
Do not pet this fuzzy wuzzy. Despite its cuddly appearance, the puss caterpillar is actually the most dangerous caterpillar in the United States, according to National Geographic. Its fuzzy "hairs" are toxic spines that can stick your skin and spur a painful reaction.
"A puss caterpillar sting feels like a bee sting, only worse," entomologist Don Hall told National Geographic. "The pain immediately and rapidly gets worse after being stung, and can even make your bones hurt."
Previously only found in Mexico and South America, kissing bugs are now a growing problem in the southern United States. According to research from Texas A&M University, over 50 percent of kissing bugs in Texas carry the parasite that is responsible for Chagas disease, which can lead to everything from body aches to heart failure.
Found on the coast of Maine and Cape Cod, the browntail moth caterpillar has poisonous hairs that, if touched, cause a reaction similar to poison ivy. And you don't even necessarily have to touch the caterpillar for the reaction to occur the toxic hairs can separate from the caterpillar and land on a person's skin while traveling through the air, causing the dermatitis.
Meet the Asian giant hornet, the largest and deadliest hornet in the world. Reportedly found in Virginia and Illinois, this monster holds such a powerful venom that it can destroy red blood cells and cause a human's kidneys to shut down. In 2013, Chinese citizens suffered 42 deaths and 1,675 injuries at the hands of these giant bugs, according to CNN.
Everyone who lives in an area teeming with deer knows about Lyme disease, but that's not the only infection that ticks carry. According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the amount of tick-borne illnesses has more than doubled in the past 13 years. Such diseases to be aware of include anaplasmosis (a bacterial infection), Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and babesiosis (a red blood cell disease).
We all know them, and we all hate them. Beyond making us itchy to no avail, mosquitoes can transmit such diseases as malaria, dengue, yellow fever, and St. Louis Encephalitis. And according to the American Mosquito Control Association, more than one million people worldwide die annually from illnesses passed on to them via mosquito.
Centipedes won't bite you, but they might pinch you if you get on their nerves. And while venomous centipedes won't cause any major harm, their pinches can potentially cause a reaction not unlike a bee sting (think swelling, redness, and pain).
The hobo spider became ubiquitous throughout the United States with the help of railways (thus giving the spider its name). Though they won't attack unless they are defending themselves, their bites can cause long-lasting headaches, bone and joint pain, muscle weakness, and hallucinations. Though hobo spiders are venomous, scientists have found that the creatures tend to only use their venom on prey.
Chiggers are the larvae of trombiculid mites. Invisible to the human eye unless in groups, these mites feed on human skin cells and their saliva leaves behind itchy, irritated bumps.
The Asian lady beetle was introduced into the United States in 1988 in order to slash aphid populations. Unfortunately, these beetles are a threat to vegetation and have a tendency to bite, and so they are now considered a pest, just like the one they were brought in to eliminate. Their bites aren't life-threatening, but in some instances, they trigger an allergic reaction that causes pink eye.
Whoever is out there making giant bees and wasps, please stop—or at the least, stop bringing them to the United States. This extra large insect was first spotted in the United States in 1994, and today they can be found everywhere from Virginia to Alabama. Like most of their relatives, these bees won't sting unless provoked… so don't provoke them.
Commonly found in the southeastern United States, this aerial yellowjacket is a vigorous defender of its territory. Should its nest be disturbed, it will sting the intruder repeatedly—and it can even squirt venom into an intruder's eyes to temporary blind them.
The good news about the horsefly is that it isn't going to bite you while you sleep. The bad news is that it will bite you while you sit out and sunbathe, and the wound it causes can potentially become infected and scar. "[Horsefly] bites take a massive chunk out of your skin, so they hurt more, and they generally tend to scare more," Dr. Ranj Singh told Express. Ouch.
Sandflies are members of the fly family with mouthparts similar to that of the mosquito. And like their relatives, the female sandfly uses said mouthpart to feed on human blood. Unfortunately, sandflies can deposit diseases into the bloodstream when they feed, and in the past these creatures have been known to spread such illnesses as typhus and the plague, according to a study published in the Infection, Genetics and Evolution journal.
Every person's worst nightmare is a bed bug infestation. Not only are these pests nearly impossible to get rid of once they've taken up residence in your home, but they also love to feed on human blood and leave painful, itchy bites in their wake. If you ever think that you might be experiencing a bed bug infestation, call the exterminator as soon as possible—after all, an estimated one in five Americans have either dealt with these creatures or know someone who has.
Technically, termites aren't dangerous to humans, as they aren't known to bite humans (save for soldier termites). However, these pests can infest homes and cause thousands of dollars in damage, making them a danger to your wallet and earning them a spot on the list.
Don't let their names deceive you. These cow killer ants, as they're called, are actually wasps with a sting as strong as their relatives (though only the females have stingers). Popular Science described the suffering from a velvet ant's sting as "30 minutes of life-changing, pray-for-death pain."
Unlike other intimidating species of spiders, wolf spiders can be found nearly everywhere in the world, regardless of habitat. The good news? While they may be perceived as incredibly deadly by their prey, they aren't as likely to do as much damage to humans.
However, if a wolf spider feels as though it is continuously being provoked, it will inject venom into its pursuer. Upon being bitten, you are likely to experience symptoms like swelling, mild pain, and itching at the site of the attack.
Found mostly in the Eastern United States, saddleback caterpillars are just as strange-looking as they are dangerous. According to the University of Florida's Entomology and Nematology departments, these creatures tend to embed their long spines (displayed in the photograph above) into their victims whenever they feel threatened. Unfortunately for anyone or anything on the receiving end of this prickly attack, these spines contain hemolytic and blister-forming venom that causes direct tissue damage in its victims. As far as humans are concerned, though, this sting only results in mild to moderate pain—though some who have been stung claim that the sting is more painful than that of a bee or wasp.
The southern black widow spider—as its name suggests—is mainly found in the Southern portion of the country, most commonly in the state of Florida. And in a similar fashion to the black widow spiders in other regions of the country, the bite of a southern black widow can be incredibly painful and harmful to both humans and small animals.
According to Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, while the pain of a southern black widow bite isn't noticeable until a few hours out from the attack, it proves to be nearly intolerable once it kicks in. The symptoms of a southern widow spider bite include nausea, chills, slight fever, a rise in blood pressure, a burning sensation of the skin, fatigue, and motor disturbances—though after four days, these symptoms generally dissipate.
The fearsome creature known as the buck moth caterpillar can be found anywhere in the Eastern United States—but if you do happen to come across one, you'll want to try your best not to provoke it. After causing immediate pain, the sting from this caterpillar's multi-branched urticating spines spreads to the lymphatic nodes where it has the power to do incredible damage to the body. In cases where the victims receive multiple stings from the buck moth caterpillar, hemorrhaging around the site of the sting—and even death, in rare cases—can occur.
Typically found in the Southwestern region of the United States, the Maricopa harvester ant holds one of the most toxic venoms known to man, according to Navajo Nature. However, though the venom produced by this species of ant can kill smaller vertebrates, it typically only produces a slight pain in humans. To kill a human, the Maricopa harvester ant would need to sting at least 350 times.
For those who rely on ash trees to pay the bills—or even for those environmentalists trying to preserve the country's untouched land—the emerald ash borer is Public Enemy No. 1. Though the insect may not immediately affect the health of humans, it does pose long-term economic problems for the entire country.
According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the estimated annual contribution of forest-based manufacturing, recreation, and tourism to the New York state economy is over $9 billion. However, with the presence of this invasive species slowly devouring the large populations of ash trees in the state, New York alone could lose millions, if not billions, of dollars in the coming years if these insects aren't eradicated.
Since 1996, the mountain pine beetle has managed to destroy millions of acres of ponderosa and lodgepole pine trees in Colorado. At the beginning of 2013, an annual assessment by the state's forest service found the bothersome beetles in some 264,000 acres of trees in Colorado. So, though the mountain pine beetle doesn't present an imminent threat to the health of humans, it does present both an economical and environmental danger to all forms of life in the United States.
Image via Wikimedia Commons
Though the hag moth looks essentially harmless, experts at the University of Kentucky's Entomology Department beg to differ. As it turns out, these moths actually possess nine pairs of fleshy lobes equipped with savage stinging hairs. Reactions from a hag moth sting can range from mild itching to more severe pain, swelling, blistering, dermatitis, and even intestinal problems.
Though they don't necessarily pose life-threatening harm to their human victims, lice do prove to be an incredibly annoying disturbance. According to the Mayo Clinic, those affected with head lice can expect symptoms ranging from intense itching to small red bumps on the scalp, neck, and shoulders.
Thanks to all the havoc they're wreaked on crops intended to feed large populations of people, locusts have been blamed for thousands of deaths over the years. Since the rule of the Ancient Egyptians, the presence of locusts has been feared—so much so, in fact, that the insects were used as a threat in the Iliad, the Bible, and the Quran.
While the citrus long-horned beetle can't physically hurt humans, it does pose a serious threat to habitats all across the United States. Since it was discovered in 1999 in Athens, Georgia, the insect has devoured thousands of hardwood trees across the United States—and according to the University of Florida's Entomology and Hematology departments, it could cost millions (if not billions) of dollars to eradicate.
Similar to the other caterpillars on this list, spiny oak-slug caterpillars are equipped with a series of stinging spines that, when injected into a human's skin, can cause pain, itching, burning, irritation, and redness. And though this creepy caterpillar's sting is not considered lethal, those who are allergic to other insect stings should be wary of coming in contact with this creature, as they are at risk of experiencing an allergic reaction.
Though the effect of the wheat weevil on stored grains around the world has never been properly documented, the insect is known to do significant damage to harvested stored grains in all corners of the world, the United States included. These evil weevils eat wheat, oats, rye, barley, rice, and corn, and they significantly impact the yield of these crops for nearly every farmer, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
In the states that often see warmer temperatures all year long, Asian citrus psyllids pose a serious threat to citrus plants and their relatives. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, these insects are actually the carriers of a bacterium that causes Huanglongbing disease, or citrus greening disease, which has been proven to be one of the most harmful citrus plant diseases in the world.
For those who rely on citrus plants to earn a living, asian citrus psyllids—and the disease they carry—have proven to be devastating. In fact, according to the Atlantic, the production of oranges in Florida declined significantly in 2015—a 63 percent decrease in production, to be exact. So, it should go without saying that these little bugs have cost the agriculture business quite a bit of money since they were first discovered.
The biggest threat to your local honey? Believe it or not, it's the Varroa mite. These insects are external parasites, meaning that they nest in beehives and slowly drain bees of their blood until there is nobody left to keep the hive running. Naturally, varroa mites have proven to be incredibly harmful to both bees and honey production all across the world. And for dangerous creatures living under water, here are 20 Sea Creatures More Dangerous Than Sharks.
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