It’s that time of year for falling leaves, the color orange, ghostly visions, homicidal maniacs with knives lurking in alleyways, and a general murder-and-mayhem feel to the new and distinct chill in the air.
While many terrors are man-made or invoked for the cinematic screen, there are others that lurk just out of sight waiting for their moment to wreak havoc with any humans who have the misfortune to dare to be in their way. Just consider that bugs and insects outnumber humans 200 million to one and there are an average of 400 million insects per acre of land! Therein lies the backdrop for the next All Hallows Eve horror flick.
Insects rapidly develop from egg to adult and they have crawled their way across the Earth for at least the last 400 million years. Scientists surmise that arachnophobia (fear of spiders), may well be the result of evolutionary psychology. Coming into contact with venomous spiders was commonplace in man’s early history. A fear of spiders developed as a survival tactic. In modern times, they have made their name in the world cinema, and since the 1950s have been the stars of many horror films.
Halloween, Spiders And Superstitions
The most popular symbol of Halloween is the spider. The reason for this concerns an association between spiders and witches that dates back to medieval times. Along with black cats and rats, spiders are believed to be the evil consorts of witches and warlocks. There is also the spider web and its connection to dark and dreary places like graveyards, caves and haunted houses.
Superstitions abound about their presence in a home. In some cultures, a spider seen in the morning is an omen of impending death, and if a spider should fall into a candle-lit amp and becomes consumed in the flame, it is meant as a warning that witches are lurking nearby (even if your in-laws are out of town).
12 Creepy Insects You’ll Never Want To Encounter
Consider some of the following creepy crawlies that are found all over the world. Although our pest control and pest-management specialists at Pestco Professional Services aren’t likely to come across these not-so lovelies that are listed below, their power and extreme danger to life and limb are worthy of at least some sort of professional respect. (Perhaps a quick salute while running away might suffice.)
The Giant Silkworm Assassin Caterpillar
This South American critter is also lovingly known as the Assassin Caterpillar, and its powerful venom is responsible for many deaths each year. The larvae of this caterpillar have tiny bristles that release a toxin that is highly poisonous to humans. It causes symptoms similar to gangrene throughout the body, the leakage of blood into the brain and death. In addition, the toxin’s anti-clotting properties make it impossible to stop the bleeding, and this is the ultimate cause of death. It is this horrifying aspect that has caused scientists and researchers to study this caterpillar more than any other found anywhere in the world.
Flesh Flies And Their Feeding and Breeding Habits
Their very name is enough to make any self respecting human lose his or her last meal. These flies are known to breed and feed in feces and decaying material and often lay their eggs in the open wounds of both animals and humans. Despite their disgusting diet of choice, these flies are important scavengers that are integral to the balance of nature. They help to recycle nutrients back into the soil. In keeping with clever horror and crime-related flicks and tales, the maggots of these flies are used by forensic entomologists to place the time of death in murder cases.
The Australian Funnel Web Spider
The toxin from this critter can kill a human being in 15 minutes. There are 35 species of funnel web spiders, but only one holds the title of the world’s deadliest. The Sydney Funnel-Web Spiders are relatively large and aggressive, and their big, rear-ward-facing fangs are capable of piercing through fingernails. The males are particularly deadly because they often wander into human settlements in search of mates. Before the development of an anti-venom in 1981, this spider caused at least 13 deaths including seven children.
The Venomous Puss Caterpillar
The most venomous caterpillar in the United States, this furry critter resembles a harmless kitten napping on a tree branch. While this moniker hardly sounds terrifying, according to Don Hall, a University of Florida entomologist, these soft innocuous-looking insects have an outer comb-some say resembles the hair-do of a certain executive who resides in the White House but shall remain nameless. This comb disguises small, extremely toxic spines that stick into the skin.
Hall goes on to say: “A puss caterpillar sting feels like a bee sting, only worse. The pain immediately worsens after being stung, and can even make your bones ache. How bad the sting hurts depends on where you get stung and how many spines are embedded in your skin. People who have been stung on the hand say the pain can radiate up to their shoulder and last for up to 12 hours.”
The Titan Beetle – The World’s Largest
The world’s largest beetle can grow to be about six and a half inches long. Indigenous to the depths of the tropical rain forests in South America, especially French Guiana, these enormous insects will hiss if threatened but are usually not aggressive. Watch out if they become so, however, as their sharp spines and powerful jaws are strong enough to break a pencil, dent a plastic ruler, or cut into a person’s flesh. The Titan beetle, like so many creatures, is threatened by the deterioration of its rainforest habitat.
The Carnivorous Amazonian Centipede
This carnivorous centipede is the world’s largest, and they have been known to reach a maximum length of about 14 inches. It will eat anything it can kill and its diet usually consists of invertebrates like crickets, worms, snails and tarantulas, and also vertebrates such as: lizards, frogs (up to about eight inches long), snakes (up to about ten inches long), small birds, mice, and even bats. Their venom is highly toxic, although not usually lethal to humans. Nevertheless, it’s a bite not easily forgotten, as it can cause severe pain, swelling, chills and fever.
Bullet Ants – The Most Painful Bite In The World
Bullet ants are agile as well as huge. They grow up to an inch long and their feet work like glue on any substance to which they attach themselves. The sting from this species of ant that is found in the humid rain forests of Central and South America results in one of the most painful bites transmitted by any other insect anywhere in the world. It is said to be as painful as being shot by a nail gun. The burning pain is instantaneous and excruciating and can last for up to 12 hours.
The Solitary Tarantula Hawk Wasp
This solitary wasp species is the largest member of the spider wasp family, which comprises some 5,000 diverse species. Its existence is a lifelong quest for the fierce critters that give them their name. They encounter many other predators along the way, including birds and lizards in search of a meal. Its powerful venom is meant to help the wasp get away and survive, which it does by delivering an instantaneous punch of excruciating and totally debilitating pain that lasts until the predator releases it from their grasp.
Large Human Bot Flies And Their Gag-Worthy Habits
This large, hairy fly resembles a bumblebee and is indigenous to Central and South America. These insects are disgusting because they lay their eggs on warm-blooded mammals including: buffalo; cattle; cats; dogs; monkeys; pigs; rabbits; sheep and humans. Once the eggs hatch and the larvae emerge, they burrow into the subcutaneous layer of the skin and they can flourish anywhere in the body, including tear ducts, eyelids and even the human brain. This action causes painful pustules that secrete toxic fluids. When insect larvae infect a human in this manner, the process is known as myiasis.
Army Ants – Also Known As Killer Ants
Also known as soldier or killer ants, these giant bugs are blind and travel by the millions throughout western Africa and tropical Asia, terrorizing and attacking everything that crosses their path. They forage simultaneously over a certain area and their power lies in this and the fact that jaws are powerful shearing machines that can rip apart cattle, elephants and humans. Army ants kill and eat up to 100,000 animals per day. Together they can kill lizards, snakes, chickens, pigs, goats, scorpions, and many others. The nest of these insects is comprised of the ants themselves. Their sheet volume forms walls and they fasten onto each other via their mandibles and claws.
The Japanese Giant Hornet Or Yak Killer
Truly the stuff of nightmares, this hornet is the largest species of wasp in the world. Also known as the Yak Killer, it is extremely aggressive and these critters are known to attack in entire colonies. In Japan, some 40 people die every year from their venomous bites, which one Japanese entomologist cited as being equal to the pain of “a hot nail being driven into your leg.” If you happen to run across one of them, the best advice is to run because their stinger is 1/4 inch long and the venom is so potent that it can liquefy human tissue. A few stings can be fatal. if this isn’t fearful enough to contemplate, add to the equation the disturbing factor that their venom contains pheromones that emit signals to any nearby hornets to stop by and offer their help in ending your life.
The Aggressive Unforgiving Assassin Bug
There are many different species of assassin bugs, some of which can transmit disease to humans. This is nowhere near as scary, however, as how they earned their fearsome moniker. These insects are known to attack their prey quickly and violently by stabbing them with their long, sharp beaks. After death, their behavior resembles something out of an Edgar Allen Poe horror tale. They inject enzymes into their victims, which soften their insides and prepare them to be sucked out like a smoothie. One particular species found in Malaysia actually glues the empty corpses onto its back using sticky secretions, wearing them as if they were a suit of armor.
Pestco Professional Pest Control Solutions
For those of us living in the United States, and particularly anywhere throughout Greater Pittsburgh, these scary critters are more likely to turn up in our nightmares than scampering across our pillows. Nevertheless, the danger they pose to human health are enough to arouse fear even among the most seasoned of professional technicians at Pestco Professional Services, who eliminate insect invaders from homes and businesses throughout Allegheny County every day of their lives. We also handle pest and hygiene control services for businesses throughout all of Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio and the West Virginia panhandle.
At this creepy-crawly time of year, one might even prefer an encounter with a passing ghost rather than one of these fearful insects. In any case, enjoy Halloween, but don’t forget to look over your shoulder once in a while. One never knows why or how something evil might this way come.
Call our team today to handle all your pest-control and pest management problems, (412) 252-5200 — we are there to help at Halloween and all other times of the year as well!
Sleep well, dear reader.