The mosquito is one of the deadliest insects in the world. There are over 2,500 different species of mosquito and they are can be found in various parts of the world. There are around 200 species of mosquito in the US and around 33 in the UK. They can be identified by their proboscis, which the female uses to collect blood, which she needs to feed her eggs.
Mosquitoes are a vector agent and carry more diseases than any other bug in the world. Perhaps the most dangerous is the Anopheles mosquito, which spreads malaria. In the US, mosquitoes have been known to spread encephalitis. Other diseases carried by mosquitoes include yellow fever. The diseases are spread to millions of people each year, resulting in millions of deaths. Mosquitoes never catch any of the diseases, they just simply spread them.
Mosquitoes are attracted to the scent of sweat and can smell victims from up to 50 kilometers away. The more carbon dioxide you emit, the more appealing you will be to a mosquito. Those at greater risk of being bitten include pregnant women and people who are overweight. In some parts of the US, some species of mosquito target small birds and animals rather than humans.
In the UK, mosquitoes are seen as more of a pest than dangerous and their bites are usually harmless. However, mosquito bites can be extremely irritating, causing the victim to scratch at the area, which can result in the area swelling and lead to scarring. Mosquito bites need to be treated quickly to prevent infection. There are various creams and other treatments for mosquito bites, one of the most common being calamine lotion, which eases the itching. Despite mosquitoes in the UK being harmless, there have been reported sightings of the Tiger Asian mosquito, which is one of the deadliest.
Like spiders, scorpions belong to the class Arachnida. They can found be found in British Columbia, North Carolina and in Brazilian forests and are recognised by the hook on the end of their tail, which carries venom and is usually raised before an attack occurs. There are around 2,000 species of scorpion, with around 40 species in North America. Some species of scorpion, such as the Euscorpius Flavicaudis, can even be found in the UK, usually in isolated areas such as sea ports. The average lifespan of a scorpion is 3 – 8 years.
Although not as dangerous as mosquitoes, there are still thousands of deaths every year caused by scorpion stings. Whilst all scorpions carry venom, there are only certain species, such as the fat-tailed scorpion and the Israeli desert scorpion (Deathstalker), which are dangerous to humans. Both these species carry poisonous venom and cause many deaths each year. The venom of the Israeli desert scorpion is not always dangerous to a healthy human, but it can be potentially harmful to young children around age five or younger, elderly people and people who suffer from heart conditions or allergies.
Scorpion stings are known to cause blurred vision, vomiting, swelling, slurred speech, drowsiness, heart palpitations and many other unpleasant effects. Stings can be treated by using ice cubes to ease the pain. It is also a good idea to consult a doctor who will prescribe painkillers to help treat the sting. Those who experience severe effects of a sting must contact a doctor immediately so that the sting can be treated correctly.
Those who come across a scorpion should avoid getting too close and try not to provoke it – scorpions usually only attack humans who handle them. They are nocturnal creatures and will usually move around in dark places such as cupboards, drawers and even clothes and footwear, so those who live in areas where scorpions are commonly found may wish to check their items thoroughly!
Like the mosquito, the tsetse fly is a vector agent. They are mainly found in Africa and can be recognised by their proboscis, which is used to drink the blood of both humans and animals, and by their wings, which fold over when they are resting. The main disease spread by the tsetse fly is trypanosomiasis, which is also known as sleeping sickness. The disease affects a large number of people in a number of countries, mainly Africa.
African sleeping sickness not only affects humans, but also livestock, with around three million animals dying each year. The bite of the fly affects nearly half a million people a year, many of them dying as a result of the disease. Sleeping sickness is currently the most deadly disease in Africa, with more and more outbreaks occurring each year as a result of the tsetse fly’s bite. Unlike mosquitoes and many other types of biting fly, where only the female takes blood, both the male and female tsetse flies feed on blood.
There are many factors that increase the risk of catching sleeping sickness. These include age, immune system, gender and state of health and should be taken into account when travelling to countries where the disease is common, particularly Africa. Children tend to be more at risk of catching the disease than adults.
When bitten by a tsetse fly, the victim will experience flu like symptoms, fatigue, severe headaches, swelling and in more extreme cases, fever, slurred speech and seizures. Any early signs of the disease should be treated quickly to prevent the chances of it becoming fatal. A doctor should be consulted immediately so that the right medical treatments can be given. In some cases of the disease, the symptoms may not appear until months or even years after the fly has bitten.
Those travelling in areas where the tsetse fly is most common should take care and use protective clothing. There are several types of special nets and beds available to reduce the risk of being bitten. Those who are likely to be in affected areas where there are livestock should take great care and avoid spending long periods of time in those areas.
The Black Widow is one of the most venomous spiders in the world and can be recognised by the red hourglass on its abdomen. The Black Widow can be found in various parts of the world, including the United States, where there are five types. The most common types of Black Widow in the US include Northern Black Widow, Southern Black Widow and the Western Black Widow. All three types are highly venomous. In the UK, there is a species of spider known as the Steatoda grossa, which is often mistaken for the Black Widow.
The Black Widow earned its name as a result of the female eating her mate after reproduction has taken place. The average lifespan of a Black Widow in the wild is 1 – 3 years. As well as feeding off their mate occasionally, the female Black Widow spider will also use her web to capture other prey such as caterpillars, beetles, mosquitoes and flies.
Although highly venomous, the Black Widow’s bite rarely causes fatalities among humans. However, the bit can be fatal for small children, those with heart conditions or health problems and the elderly. Although the bite is rarely fatal, some victims have been known to never fully recover after being bitten. When bitten, the victim will initially experience pain, often followed by abdominal pains and muscle cramps and in more severe cases, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, fainting and chest pains. Those who experience severe symptoms must consult a doctor immediately so that the bite can be treated. Painkillers usually help to ease discomfort and hot and cold compresses are said to help.
Black Widows are nocturnal creatures and although they tend to avoid nesting in human dwellings, they can be found in areas such as garages. Like the scorpion, the black Widow spider usually only bites when provoked. Those who live in areas where there are known to be Black Widow spiders, such as the United States, should take care when wandering around particularly dark areas where the spiders are likely to be nesting and should avoid provoking the creature should they come across one.
Although not as dangerous as some insects, the wasp is a highly feared creature, and can be recognised by the black and yellow bands on its body. One of the main species of wasp is the Common wasp, which is found in the UK. Wasps are social insects and form colonies of up to ten thousand. The queen wasp hibernates in winter, then gathers worker wasps. These worker wasps will construct a nest, which is usually completed a few months later.
Wasps are related to bees, but do not produce honey. They feed on nectar, although young wasps will feed on dead insects. Other types of wasp include the solitary wasp, which acts alone and does not belong to any colony.
Wasps are mainly feared due to their sting. The sting contains a venom, which although not usually dangerous, can provoke allergic reactions, particularly with people who do not have a high immune system. These allergic reactions can sometimes result in death. An allergic reaction can be caused by just one wasp sting. For those who do not suffer an allergic reaction, a single wasp sting is usually harmless, with just minor irritation. However, being sung by more than one wasp at once can cause serious damage, sometimes resulting in death. Children in particular are at risk of experiencing severe health complications brought on by a wasp sting.
Symptoms of a wasp sting include, itching, swelling and pain. If the sting is not treated, then it can become infected. More severe symptoms include allergic reactions, which may cause nausea, vomiting, chest pain, swelling in the mouth or throat and unconsciousness. Those who experience severe symptoms must consult a doctor immediately.
Wasps tend to lurk around sticky cans or jars that are left open, so it is a good idea to place lids on any food that is left out and to make sure that there are no sticky stains on clothing.
There are over 20,000 species of bees. A relative of the wasp, bees can be recognised be the black and yellow stripes on their body. Although similar in colour to wasps, bees are hairier. The hairs on a bee’s front legs are used to clean pollen. Pollen is stored in the bee’s hind legs and is carried to the hive. Like wasps, bees form colonies, with the queen bee leading a group of worker bees. The most social type of bee is the honey bee. One of the most common types of bee in the UK is the bumblebee.
The most feared type of bee is the Africanized bee, which is one of the most dangerous. A sting from one of these bees will cause pain, but is usually harmless. However, if a victim is attacked by a swarm and stung several times, then the results could be fatal. Africanized bees can be found in the US, where there have been a number of deaths each year as a result of their sting. The honey bee and the Africanized bee will die after they have stung their victims
The usual symptoms of a bee sting include itching, swelling and redness. For those who experience an allergic reaction however, the symptoms will be more severe and can include nausea, vomiting, fainting, difficulty breathing, anxiety and sometimes death. Those who experience a bee attack should remove the sting and use soap and water to clean the area. Those who experience more severe symptoms will need to consult a doctor so that the correct medicine can be prescribed.
Those at risk of being badly affected by a bee sting include children, animals, those with heart conditions or the elderly. Many people become frightened upon encountering a bee and should try not to panic, as this is likely to result in the bee attacking the victim. It is best to avoid areas where there are nests and to avoid leaving sticky cans or sweets lying around, as this will attract the bees.
Fleas are not only one of the most annoying insects in the world, they are also dangerous and are responsible for the thousands of people that succumbed to the Bubonic Plague in the 1600s. They are small, dark in colour and are wingless. One of the most smallest species of flea is the cat flea, which is also the most common. Cat fleas and dogs fleas usually cause little harm to their hosts, although allergic reactions can sometimes take place, causing severe discomfort for the animal. Cat fleas also carry disease, which can be transmitted to humans.
The human flea bites a number of animals, including birds, monkeys, rats, pigs and bats. It sometimes carries Dipylidium Caninum, which is a tapeworm. This can be passed onto humans, with children more at risk of catching it and can be prevented by treating animals and destroying the fleas.
Symptoms of a flea bite include pain, itching, swelling and a rash. Flea bites are likely to occur around the ankles, knees, elbows waist and armpits. Scratching the area can lead to infection and must be avoided. There are various creams available to treat the bite and insecticides can be used to help get rid of fleas.
Although flea bites are usually harmless, they can cause allergic reactions. Fleas may also carry diseases from the blood of another victim, which can be passed on if the flea bites. Pets with flea infestations should be treated immediately. Advice on treatments can be provided by a vet and animals should be bathed with special shampoo. Pet owners should also take care to clean their pets beds and cages and vacuum around the area. If your pet cat or dog scratches regularly then it is likely that there is a flea infestation. Using a fine toothed flea comb on your pet’s fur will also help you to identify whether or not there are fleas. Flea infestations in the home can be treated by cleaning furniture and bed clothes thoroughly
Fire ants can be recognised by their reddish brown body. They form colonies and feed on plants and seeds. The fire ant earned its name as a result of the bite that they leave on humans, which causes a burning sensation. Fire ants are aggressive and will usually bite when disturbed. They nest in areas such as small buildings, moving through cracks and crevices.
Ants also bite small animals, sometimes killing them. With humans, fire ant bites cause irritation and can lead to severe allergic reactions, which may result in death. Young children, those with health complications and the elderly are more at risk of being badly affected by a fire ant bite. Those who come into contact with a fire ant colony and are bitten more than once will break out in a series of small bumps around the affected area, that may become infected if scratched and lead to scarring.
Initial symptoms of a fire ant bite include itching, redness and swelling. Allergic reactions may bring on more severe symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, sweating and difficulty breathing. A doctor should be consulted immediately if these symptoms occur. Placing ice on the affected area can help and there are allergy injections available.
Areas where fire ant colonies are lurking should be avoided. Those who are aware of their allergies should take care to cover up, particularly on their feet to prevent fire ants from attacking. If you are bitten, then you should remove the ants from your skin immediately by rubbing them. If you have a cloth to hand, then you can also use this to remove them from your skin. As soon as you have done this, you should treat the affected area immediately, especially if you are aware that you are likely to suffer an allergic reaction to the bite.