Eight of the World’s Deadliest Insects are Found in Indiana


There are a lot of insects in this world that scare and creep people out, but news like this makes it even worse. Indiana is home to eight of the world’s most deadly insects.

You can’t walk outside in Indiana right now without seeing insects. Even worse, you can’t go outside without being eaten up by some of them. Sure, many of these insects serve a great purpose in the ecosystem, but for us, most of them are just pests. Not only that, but many of them are downright dangerous if you come into contact with them. I know for me personally, I am a magnet for mosquitoes. We all know the dangers that come with mosquito bites, but that’s just one of many insects we have here in Indiana that could be potentially dangerous.

The website, Field & Stream, put together a list of the “12 Deadliest Insects in the World.” They acknowledged that technically spiders aren’t insects (they’re arachnids,) but explained that if it was “creepy and crawly and can kill, it’s on the list.” Out of the twelve insects on this list, eight of them are found right here in Indiana. Without any further ado, let’s check them out. I’ll put their ranking next to the name of the insect so you can see where Field & Stream rated them in terms of how deadly they can be.

1. Mosquito

According to Field & Stream:

The deadliest insect is, in fact, the deadliest critter in the entire animal kingdom. It is the humble mosquito, which kills more than 700,000 people every year. Skeeters are vectors for a host of nasty diseases, including malaria, dengue, West Nile, yellow fever, Zika, chikungunya, and lymphatic filariasis.

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It’s no secret that we have an abundance of mosquitoes here in Indiana. If you, by chance, never see them out, just visit my backyard and you’ll regret it instantly.

2. Kissing Bug

This insect also known as a Triatominae has been known to bite people in the face and infect them with a disease called Chagas. This disease has been dubbed as the deadly “Kissing Bug.”

These insects are not something to mess around with. Some of the symptoms of Chagas are fever, fatigue, swelling, and a rash but it can be more serious causing strokes or even heart failure. Your pets aren’t even safe from the triatomine insects, as Chagas can actually give your pets heart disease. YIKES!

Read More: Deadly ‘Kissing Bug’ Has Invaded Indiana

4. Bees

While these pollinators are good for the environment, they can also be quite deadly too. Field & Stream says that bees were responsible for the deaths of 89 Americans in 2017, according to the CDC. Anaphylactic shock is the killer, and about 80 percent of those who die are male. They include any type of bee, hornet, or wasp in this category. All of which can be found here in Indiana.

7. Black Widow Spider

The black widow spider is one of the most feared insects here in Indiana. Even though it rarely kills people and many who are bitten never even know it. Here’s what Field & Stream says about their bite:

Black widows are usually small but carry an unusually potent venom that contains larotoxin, a neurotoxin that can cause pain, muscle rigidity, vomiting, and sweating. Symptoms typically last three to seven days. Only the female bite is considered dangerous to humans. Each year, about 2,200 people report being bitten by black widows. None has died since 1983. On the other hand, some house cats have died of convulsions or paralysis.

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9. Brown Recluse Spider

You can’t talk about deadly spiders in Indiana without mentioning the infamous brown recluse spider. They are often found in basements and attics, but while the fear is real, bites and deaths are rare. However, if you are bitten by one of these bad boys, it won’t be pretty. Field & Stream puts it like this:

It has necrotic venom, meaning it kills tissue. As a result, an untreated bite can create a gaping bloody hole in your flesh and can lead to amputation. In severe cases, the venom can cause red blood cells to burst. Which is not good. Treatment typically involves immobilizing the limb, applying ice, and a tetanus shot.

10. Ants

Ants in Indiana are really more of a nuisance than anything else, but that’s not to say that they aren’t dangerous. The ones we really have to worry about here in Indiana are fire ants. According to Field & Stream:

Fire ants only bite to get a grip, then they sting and inject a toxic venom composed of oil alkaloids mixed with small amounts of toxic proteins. The sting, which feels like being burned by fire, typically swells into a bump quickly, which can cause further pain and irritation. Some people either are or become allergic to the venom, sometimes to the point of anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal.

11. Fleas

When we hear about fleas we usually associate those with our cats and dogs. However, they could be deadly to humans too by causing the plague. Here’s what Field & Stream says about fleas:

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Of the 3,000 types of fleas worldwide, only about a dozen are considered harmful to humans, causing plague and/or a flea-borne variety of typhus. The most important species are the rat flea, the human flea, and the cat flea.

12. Ticks

We’ve all heard the same thing from our parents growing up “I’m going to have to check you for ticks.” Everyone has had a tick bite them once in their life, and the thing with these tick bites is ticks can infect us with a variety of pathogens: bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. We all know that the West Nile Virus that ticks carry has been an issue here in Indiana in the past, but here’s what Field & Stream says about these deadly insects:

Our understanding of tick-borne diseases is still in its infancy. There are 16 such diseases, four of which have been discovered in the last seven years. Lyme gets the most attention, for good reason, but the deadliest is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which has a case-fatality rate of 30 percent in certain untreated patients. Even with treatment, case-fatality rates of 4 percent have been reported. Survivors can be left with lifelong complications. Incidentally, don’t be distracted by the name. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is most prevalent in North Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri. Its symptoms may look like other tick diseases—fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, muscle pain, etc. There is no vaccine, but it can be treated with antibiotics.

While Indiana wasn’t mentioned among the states with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, IN.gov says that it has been recorded in all 92 counties in Indiana.