Now that fall is swiftly becoming winter, there are fewer pests to deal with. Sure, a beautiful summer day would be nice — especially once we get to the snowier months — but having a bit of a break from insects and spiders is always great. Rest assured, the nine insects/arachnids in the U.S. that can actually kill you typically spend their winters far away from humans. Oh, you didn't know there are bugs native to this country which can actually kill you? Sorry, yeah.
Generally, regions like desolate portions of Australia and sub-Saharan Africa are the ones which boast the most fatal creatures on the planet. Australia's notorious funnel-web spiders, for example, pack enough venom to practically disintegrate the nervous system of a mammal. In large swaths of Africa, the infamous tse tse fly can render parts of the body completely nonfunctional until the entire system is shut down. After that, you die.
As if that wasn't terrifying enough, there are some insects that may not necessarily be the most poisonous, but are aggressive enough to do some serious damage to a person. That's the case with the Africanized bee, for example, which can be found all over the US, and is similar in appearance to the far more docile European bee.
Here's some ammunition for your next nightmare ...
Arizona Bark Scorpions
As you might expect, the Arizona bark scorpion can be found in the Southwestern part of the United States. It stands as the only scorpion whose venom can be fatal, though those who do succumb to its sting tend to either be elderly or infants. Symptoms of an Arizona bark scorpion sting include frothing at the mouth, numbness, and convulsions.
Black Widow Spiders
Black widow venom packs quite the punch. The female spider stands as one of the most deadly in the United States, and can be found in warmer regions, particularly the Southwest. Though black widow venom is said to be nearly 15 times stronger than that of a rattlesnake, it's incredibly rare that such a bite leads to death. Still, symptoms aren't that great, and include chest pain, swelling, vomiting, and fainting.
Brown Recluse Spiders
True to its name, the brown recluse tends to lurk on the peripherals of homes, in closets and hidden dark spots, as the spider is nocturnal. Brown recluses can be found in the middle of country, as well as the South. Brown recluse bites are incredibly dangerous, and should be treated immediately. Wounds can take weeks to heal, and may even result in fatal infections.
Don't be fooled by this creature's cuddle-worthy appearance. The puss caterpillar is the most dangerous caterpillar in the entire country. Residing primarily in the Southeast, this fuzzy bug's "hairs" are actually protective spines that can become embedded in your skin, causing an incredibly painful reaction that can last as long as 12 hours. Though a puss caterpillar sting has yet to kill anyone, they've sadly come close.
Mosquitoes can be found everywhere, but that's not necessarily a reason to panic. It's not the bug itself which causes harm, but rather the myriad diseases it can carry. Female anopheles mosquitoes can transmit malaria, and according to the CDC, many such mosquitoes are resistant to insecticides, making it even harder to prevent the spread of some of the most damaging infectious diseases on the planet.
Known to scientists as the triatomine bug, the kissing bug inhabits the Southern part of the country. Only recently has it been linked to the debilitating Chagas disease. The nocturnal bugs suck the blood of their victims, usually in the evening, transmitting T. cruzi, the parasite which brings about Chagas. Symptoms can range from stroke and constipation to sudden cardiac arrest. Fewer than five percent of reported cases have been fatal, however.
Wasps account for a surprising number of fatalities, primarily because there are so many people who are allergic to their sting. Medscape pegs the animal and those related to it as the most deadly of venomous insects. Symptoms of a wasp sting can range from fairly innocuous irritation to complete anaphylactic shock. Wasps are found all over the country, and tend to be far more aggressive than most bees. Most bees ...
Africanized bees look identical to solitary bees, which typically stay far away from humans. Africanized bees, however, tend to swarm their victims and inundate them with stings. According to experts, it's not that the bee is particularly venomous; it's that the sheer number of aggravated insects are enough to prove deadly when disturbed. They typically target a creature's face — particularly the eyes — which is even creepier.
Oriental Rat Fleas
The warning that rats carry the Bubonic plague is a bit of a misnomer. It's not that the vermin are directly infected, but rather the insects hitching a ride on them. To this day, Oriental rat fleas still carry the bacteria that causes the plague. Fleas are responsible for spreading it between rats, as well as infecting humans. Symptoms include such mild affects as coughing and headaches all the way up to internal bleeding and seizures. The Bubonic plague is most certainly fatal, though modern medicine has brought about lifesaving antibiotics that have considerably reduced the mortality rate for the rare few who do get infected.
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