Potentially representing over 90% of all animal life forms on Earth, the insect is by far the most diverse group of animals on the planet. Insects come in many different shapes, colors, and sizes; many of them are actually very useful and completely harmless to humans. On the other hand, there are also some insect species that are extremely annoying. Destroying our food, causing painful stings, or making unbearable noises, here are 25 Most Annoying Insects On Earth.
Let us start out with one of the most annoying and notorious insects in the world – the mosquito. However, what is not so well-known about this little bloodsucking pest is the fact that it actually is also the world’s deadliest animal, being responsible for an estimated 725,000 human deaths each year through the transmission of various diseases.
The Flesh Fly is similar in appearance to the common house fly; it is characterized by blackish stripes on the gray thorax and a checkered pattern of light and dark gray on the abdomen. Most Flesh Flies are tropical, but the family is generally widespread. They differ from most flies in that they opportunistically deposit hatched or hatching maggots on carrion, dung, decaying material or open wounds of mammals.
One of the most feared and infamous insects, Cockroaches have been long despised by homeowners due to their creepy appearance. Cockroach pest control and management are important for health and safety reasons; these large and extremely hardy bugs are known to cause allergic reactions and even trigger asthma attacks. They also spread over 30 kinds of bacteria including E. coli and Salmonella.
Armed with a pair of forceps-like pincers on their abdomen, Earwigs are often considered one of the most annoying bugs outside. There are many myths associated with these nocturnal creatures. For instance, the (false) urban legend that says the Earwig can burrow into a man’s brain through his ear. However, the Earwig is usually harmless to humans, and it only uses the pincers for defense.
Close relatives to leafhoppers and froghoppers, Cicadas are probably best known for their annoying buzzing and clicking noises, which can be amplified by multitudes of insects into an overpowering hum. Males produce this species-specific noise with vibrating membranes on their abdomens. There are about 3,000 different species of this insect family.
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Found in association with humans and their activities all over the world, the House Fly is one of the most common and annoying insect species in the world. Not only are these insects a nuisance, but they can also transport disease-causing organisms. Excessive fly populations are problems to farm workers, and they can also pose a serious public health problem. House Flies also carry pathogens on their bodies and in their feces and can contaminate food.
Technically, the Tick is not an insect but an arachnid; however, these tiny blood-sucking pests are among the most annoying creatures out there, so we decided to include them in this list. The Tick’s mouth is so small that the host usually doesn’t feel the bite and is often unaware that they have been bitten. Ticks are also capable of spreading various diseases to humans through their saliva.
There are about 160,000 species of the Moth, but few of them have as bad of a reputation as the Clothing Moth, a small insect notorious for eating our clothes. However, it is not the Moth itself that eats the clothes but the larvae. The larvae have a fairly specific diet, and so female moths typically deposit the eggs into clothes made from animal fibers such as silk, wool, cashmere, angora, or fur.
Named after its yellow-black body, the Yellow Jacket is a common name for a predatory wasp. The Yellow Jackets are known to fiercely defend their colonies, and they are capable of delivering multiple, painful stings. The stings may also induce severe allergic reactions in some individuals, which can occasionally even result in death.
Usually reaching just up to 3 mm (0.12 in) in length, the Flea is a small flightless, parasitic insect that lives by consuming the blood of its mammal hosts. One of the animal kingdom’s greatest jumpers, Fleas can also transmit dangerous diseases. As the chief agent transmitting the Black Death (bubonic plague) in the Middle Ages, they were an essential link in the chain of events that resulted in the death of a quarter of the population of Europe back then.
Found all over the world except for some islands and polar regions, the Horse Fly is another annoying fly known for attacking animals and humans and biting them to feed on their blood. Like mosquitoes, female horseflies must ingest a protein based blood meal before they can reproduce. Some varieties of horseflies are very large in size, while others more resemble the average house fly.
Ants are considered one of the most successful and oldest organisms on Earth. In terms of biomass (the amount of living matter), these tiny insects actually make up at least 15% of the terrestrial animal biomass. In tropical areas, such as the Amazon, this number increases to 25% or more. No wonder ants are a nuisance in so many homes all over the world.
Until pesticides started controlling them in the 20th century, May Bugs (also known as doodlebugs or cockchafers) were a serious agricultural pest, capable of destroying entire cereal crops. At least, this bug doesn’t bite or sting – the intimidating sharp point at the tip of the insect’s abdomen is not a stinger, but a pygidium – used by females to push their eggs into the soil.
Termites are very similar to ants in both size and appearance, which often leads to confusion as they are not true ants. In fact, termites are a relative of the cockroaches. Owing to their secretive nature, termites can be hard to detect, especially with an untrained eye. You are far more likely to spot the signs of termite damage as they can completely destroy buildings, crops or even entire plantation forests.
Also known as the buffalo gnat or the turkey gnat, the Black Fly is a small but robust and annoying pest of wildlife, livestock, poultry, and humans. Their blood-sucking habits also raise concerns about possible transmission of disease agents. Black Flies are a common nuisance for humans; many US states have programs to suppress this annoying insect’s populations.
Also known as the daddy longlegs, Crane Flies are definitely among the least popular insects; however, their bad reputation is actually quite undeserved. Unlike most other insects on the list, the Crane Fly doesn’t bite or sting and is completely harmless to humans. It is probably just its spider-like appearance and the awkward, bouncy style of flying that makes it look so creepy.
Known as human parasites for thousands of years, Bed Bugs are small, just up to 5 mm (0.2 in) long bugs that feed on human blood. There are several reasons why these tiny insects can be a huge annoyance to you. Besides sucking your blood, they also shed their skins in your bed, produce fecal stains on your mattress and bedding, and create blood stains on your pajamas.
Colorado Potato Beetle
Also known as the potato bug, the Colorado Potato Beetle is familiar to home gardeners as it is one of the most serious pests of potatoes. Both the striped beetle and the black-spotted red larva feed on potato leaves. Their damage can greatly reduce yield and even kill plants. In addition to potato, the bug can be a serious problem for tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. It is also notorious for its ability to rapidly develop resistance to insecticides.
The Head Louse is a tiny, wingless parasitic insect that lives among human hairs and feeds on small amounts of blood drawn from the scalp. This insect is a very common problem, especially for kids. Head Lice are contagious, annoying, and sometimes tough to get rid of. While they don’t spread diseases, their bites can make a child’s scalp very itchy and irritated.
Reaching up to 5.5 cm (2.2 in) in length, the Hornet is the largest species of the wasp. Most Hornets live in tropical Asia, but the insects are also found in Europe, Africa, and North America. Hornets feed on tree sap, but they are also accomplished predators. A Hornet hive will eliminate many flies, bees, and other insects. The Hornet can be very annoying and also dangerous to humans as it delivers very powerful and painful stings.
Giant Water Bug
Known by several other names such as the toe-biter and the alligator flea, the Giant Water Bug is a large insect that can be found in freshwater ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers in the Americas, Northern Australia, and East Asia. These fierce predators have been known to prey upon small vertebrates such as fish and frogs, but they can also kill small snakes and even turtles. You can imagine what kind of a nuisance it can be for humans.
Found in most parts of the world, the Cricket is a leaping insect best known for the musical chirping of the males. They produce the sounds by rubbing a scraper located on one forewing along a row of about 50 to 250 teeth on the opposite forewing. The Cricket doesn’t bite or sting, nor is it considered a pest, but the sound can be very annoying to human ears.
Also known as the Africanized honey bee, the Killer Bee is a hybrid of a common honey bee with the African bee. Despite the terrifying name, the Killer Bee is actually not that dangerous as its sting is not different from a sting of any ordinary honey bee. What makes this species so annoying is the aggression and ferocity with which the insects protect their hives.
Originally native to China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, the Stink Bug was recently introduced into the US and Europe where it soon became a feared agricultural pest. However, having these insects at home can also be a huge nuisance as the Stink Bug releases a pungent smell when threatened or crushed. The bugs often gather in homes in fall when they are seeking sheltered places to spend the winter.
A species of short-horned grasshopper, the Locust has been scaring humans for millennia. Locusts are sometimes solitary insects with lifestyles much like grasshoppers, but they have another behavioral phase called the gregarious phase. When environmental conditions produce many green plants and promote breeding, locusts can congregate into thick, mobile, ravenous swarms, capable of destroying entire crops, thus causing famine and starvation.
Photo: Feature Image: shutterstock, 25. JJ Harrison (email@example.com), Mosquito Tasmania crop, CC BY-SA 3.0, 24. Toby Hudson, Sarcophagidae – Flesh fly – 11, CC BY-SA 3.0, 23. publicdomainpictures.net (public domain), 22. Max Pixel (public domain), 21. Bruce Marlin, Tibicen linnei, CC BY-SA 2.5, 20. wikimedia commons (public domain), 19. Richard Bartz, Ixodus ricinus 5x, CC BY-SA 2.5, 18. Olaf Leillinger, Tineola.bisselliella.7218, CC BY-SA 2.5, 17. James from Boulder, USA, 1st Yellow Jacket Of The Season, CC BY 2.0, 16. Katja ZSM, Ctenocephalides felis ZSM, CC BY-SA 3.0, 15. pixabay (public domain), 14. John Tann from Sydney, Australia, Ant with a gold and hairy bum (4243403175), CC BY 2.0, 13. Copyright Martyn Gorman and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence, 12. CSIRO, CSIRO ScienceImage 3915 Mastotermes darwiniensis Giant Northern Termite, CC BY 3.0, 11. Simon A. Eugster, Black-orange fly, CC BY-SA 3.0, 10. pixabay (public domain), 9-8. wikimedia commons (public domain), 7. Gilles San Martin, Male human head louse, CC BY-SA 2.0, 6-4. pixabay (public domain), 3. Jeffrey W. Lotz, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org, Apis mellifera scutellata, CC BY 3.0, 2. Ton Rulkens, Stink bug (7757617824), CC BY-SA 2.0, 1. pixabay (public domain)