Insect stings can affect people differently. The pain can range from little to no pain or be excruciating. This is not even factoring in allergies or other issues related to insect stings and how they affect the body. This list shows a variety of insects and while you may not come across some in your area, can still bring quite a bit of pain.
#10 is the European Hornet. Although it is 1 1/2 inches in length, this hornet is less aggressive than a wasp. They will sting if they are annoyed and the sting feels similar to a honey bee sting, like someone flicked a match on your skin burning you. The European Hornet has been found in Continental and Eastern Europe and are actually a protected species in Germany!
#9 is the Common Honey Bee. Not to be written off as this little guy can deliver a toxic cocktail that can affect the heart and restrict blood flow. The pain is hot and messy! With 20,000 varieties, these beneficial insects are found worldwide. And once stung you are a target for others as having pheromone secreted at the first bite is the GPS for all the others. Jumping into the river and hiding won’t work as water will not wash off the pheromone.
#8 is the Amazon Giant Centipede. A carnivorous centipede up to 12 inches long that uses its bite to kill its prey: mice and bats. The bite causes a burning pain that can last for up to 12 hours. These creepy crawlers are common throughout the northwest of South America; Trinidad, Hispaniola, and Jamaica. If you are spelunking (exploring caves) beware – they may be hanging from above awaiting a meal of bats.
#7 is the Fire Ant. If it was just one sting it would not be too bad, but no one is ever stung by just one fire ant! The pain from these stings causes a burning pain. Because they are believed to have stowed away on cargo ships, they are now an invasive pest in the U.S., Australia, China and the Philippines. These tiny terrors like to make their home by riverbanks, ponds and lawns where they have easy access to water.
#6 is the German Yellow Jacket, introduced accidently to the U.S. in 1975. The German Yellow Hornet species of wasp are aggressive right from the start and are the biggest bully on the block! Found originally in Germany, they are now found world wide. They love burgers and wieners, so they might be the uninvited guest at your next back yard barbecue.
#5 is the Yak Killer Hornet. Just the name instills fear. There are no documented yaks that have been killed but the sting from a Yak Killer Hornet can cause such a severe allergic reaction from the toxin that humans have died! In Japan, more people are killed by these hornets than all other wild animal encounters together. They are found in Asia from Japan to Bhatan; where deep fried hornets are a delicacy in some of the restaurants. McDonald’s is sounding pretty good.
#4 is the Red Harvester Ant. TheRed Harvester Ant works frantically on the forest floor collecting and hoarding seeds and storing them underground. Getting near their hoard is a bad idea and you are in danger of being punished. The sting is unrelenting, like someone is drilling an ingrown toe nail with NO anesthesia! 22 species can be found in the U.S. with 7 alone in Texas. If you have a Red Harvester Ant colony in your yard, consider moving as the queen can outlive your mortgage!
#3 is the Paper Wasp. The inch long Paper Wasp is the master builder of magnificent curvy nests, made out of wood fibers and saliva. The paper wasp is pretty passive unless you get too close! Paper wasp insect stings is said to feel like hydrochloric acid has been poured on a paper cut. With more than 1,000 species all over the world, 20 of these can be found in North America. The only continent free of the paper wasp is Antarctica.
#2 is the Tarantula Hawk Wasp. Being 2 inches long and 3 inches wide is scary enough! The Tarantula Hawk Wasp sting is comparable to the bullet ant, except that this extremely painful sting is merciful, in that it is short term; the worst lasting only minutes! It is said to feel like a running hair dryer was dropped into your bathwater: shocking! Abundant in South America, 250 varieties have been identified, and are widely found in the U.S., Australia, Africa and India.
Coming in at #1 is the Bullet Ant. The ‘King of Insect Stings’, this ant sting feels like being shot with a gun, hence the name ‘Bullet Ant’. The sting has also been described as walking over hot coals with a 3 inch nail grinding into your heel. The pain has been shown to last up to 12 hours! Not a dangerous sting, but one that should be avoided. Bullet ants can be found in the rainforests of Central America, so when visiting beware of this ‘Little King’. If encountered, I guess just bow down and retreat!
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