These are some of the freakiest insects nature has to offer. Be warned—these seven creepy insects are sure to make your skin crawl:
#1 Petrifying Insects: The Botfly
Read this description of the human botfly’s growth cycle, and you’ll know why it made our list of the creepiest insects. The human botfly (Dermatobia hominis) lays its eggs on a mosquito. When the mosquito eventually feeds on a host (ie. you), those botfly eggs hatch. Then, the larva must grow and mature, a process that takes about six to eight weeks, all of which happens beneath the skin. Yes, these creepy insects actually hatch and grow within the body, then pop out through the skin to survive.
While it’s not hard to kill the larvae (one must only cut off their air supply by covering the skin with nail polish or petroleum jelly), after death the larvae must then be extracted from the person’s body. Check out this creepy compilation of people pulling the botfly larvae from the body. Warning: It’s not for the faint of heart.
#2 Petrifying Insects: Bedbugs
Though surprisingly (and terrifyingly) common, bedbugs are some of the world’s creepiest insects. These small, oval bugs—scientific name Cimex lectularius—feed off of human and animal blood, usually feasting when the host is asleep. Bedbugs can thrive pretty much anywhere, but often congregate inside bedrooms, where their thin, flat bodies allow them to hide within box springs and mattresses, behind paintings or nestled into shelves and drawers.
As a nocturnal insect, bedbugs usually emerge at night between 10pm and 6am. They feast by piercing one’s skin, ingesting blood through a beak for three to ten minutes, and then returning to their hiding spot. After a feeding, the once-thin brownish bug is now fat, engorged and red. While these nasty night dwellers don’t transmit deadly diseases, their bites can cause painful infections, allergic symptoms and even psychological problems.
A female bedbug can lay thousands of eggs, each of which is just about the size of a speck of dust. In optimal conditions, each of these creepy insects can grow into a mature bedbug and wreak havoc on unsuspecting sleepers.
For this reason, bedbugs are incredibly hard to get rid of, making infestations more than a nightmare for those who are affected.
#3 Petrifying Insects: Scorpionfly
Scorpionflies have found a place on this list of creepy insects because, well, just look at them. With their elongated snout and extended abdomen (the tip of which is actually the male genitalia), this ugly-looking species seems to be a mismatched combination of a scorpion and a red flying beetle. Surprisingly, the scorpionfly is harmless, and common in various parts of the world.
To lure female scorpionflies, male insects will offer a “nuptial meal” of secretions or food with the hope of finding a mate. While a meal is not required, many female flies expect to be wined and dined.
Being the tricky, creepy insects they are, some male scorpionflies pose as females to steal food offerings from their peers and hence gain an advantage over other male scorpionflies.
#4 Petrifying Insects: Kissing Bugs
Kissing bugs are known for biting humans on the face, hence their (mistakenly) romantic name. Like mosquitoes and bedbugs, these creepy insects feed on the blood of humans and pets. Drawn by the scent of the carbon dioxide we exhale, kissing bugs—also known as cone-nosed bugs—climb onto the faces of unsuspecting, sleeping individuals and feast on their blood supply. The kissing bug’s ability to sense heat (another reason they’re attracted to humans) allows them to traipse around without being caught.
While the effects of a kissing bug’s bite can range from slight irritation to full-on anaphylactic shock, the often greater fear is the possibility of contracting Chagas Disease. The deadly parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, lives within the kissing bug’s digestive system, and is excreted after feeding.
Humans can become infected if the parasite enters their bloodstream. Chagas Disease is rare in the United States, though it’s a major health concern in some parts of the world such as Central and South America.
#5 Petrifying Insects: Cockroaches
#6 Petrifying Insects: Elephant Beetle
#7 Petrifying Insects: Elephant Beetle