People are scared of bugs for a variety of reasons – and it’s not surprising. They’ve got lots of little legs, weird-looking mouths, and some of them can do serious damage by spreading disease and destroying property. Some of them, though, deserve special mentions. You may have heard of how dangerous some species of spiders are – and they really can be! However, their insect neighbors are no slouch. But when it comes to insects, which one holds the title for the deadliest insect? The answer might surprise you, but there are certainly some interesting runner-ups.

Deadliest Insect Venom

When it comes to killing, nature loves to rely on venom. It’s an effective tool for allowing fragile predators to conquer large prey or just keep strong prey subdued long enough to be consumed. Colloquially, you might call some animals poisonous when you mean venomous. Animals secrete poisons through their pores. Toads and ladybugs are poisonous, for example. In addition, animals like wasps, jellyfish, and spiders have venom – All of these inject toxins to kill and incapacitate prey and enemies. So which insect has the deadliest venom?

Thankfully, it’s one that isn’t likely to give you any problems – it’s the harvester ant! These little reddish-brown ants are mostly found in the southwestern USA but can also be found as far East as Florida. Their neurotoxic venom is so strong that it only takes about three stings for them to kill a rat! It goes without saying, don’t handle these little guys yourself. Hundreds of stings can bring you down – even if they won’t go out of their way to sting you in almost any circumstance. Just don’t go rolling in any ant hills!

Strongest Muscles

If it’s not venom that makes the most deadly insect, maybe there’s a chance it could be muscle – And while ants are known for their strength, they aren’t the strongest. One ant species has the fastest jaws of any insect, but the overall strongest is Onthophagus Taurus, also known as the Taurus scarab. They’re named for the bull-like horns on their head and are a species of dung beetle that can be found in the Southern USA and places like Afghanistan and Southeast Asia. They can lift over a thousand times their own bodyweight – That’s like you lifting five loaded double-deck buses over your head! But, these guys are not dangerous at all. They live in cow dung and dig little tunnels that they spend all day fighting over, using their prodigious strength for wrestling.

Efficient Killers

So if it isn’t stings or venom, what makes the deadliest insect? Well, that should be kill count, wouldn’t you think? If that’s the case, insects have every other kind of animal beat. The most successful predatory group on the planet is the dragonfly. These gorgeous beasts succeed in 95% of their hunts. Nearly every attempt at catching prey is a success. Compare this to hammerhead sharks who only get a meal half the time they chase something! Even so, these aren’t quite the deadliest. They can’t do anything to humans, as you’re probably aware.

The Deadliest Insect

Between sharks and bears and tigers and everything else on the planet, it may come as a shock that the most deadly insect is also the most deadly animal bar none. The humble, obnoxious, persistent, and hardy mosquito takes the crown. The mosquito is perhaps the most deadly animal on the planet. Causing over one million deaths per year, the mosquito’s danger cannot be overstated. Malaria, West Nile Virus, Yellow Fever, itchy legs – The ailments these little buggers cause are nearly endless, and nobody can hold a candle to the lethality of the mosquito. Eliminate standing bodies of water, wear light colors, and get in touch with the professionals to find out how you can protect yourself from nature’s most accomplished killer.