Some of the smallest creatures can be the most destructive living beings on planet earth. A handful of these destructive small creatures are responsible for millions of dollars worth of property damage. But property is not the only thing these creatures destroy. Some destroy life-giving crops, sending thousands of people to an early grave via starvation. Others, cause a sort of psychological destruction, where their annoyance has led people to become alcoholics and even cause structural damage themselves all in the name of dealing with the traumatic experience. And yet others terrorize humanity with their silent but deadly ability to transmit diseases to unsuspecting people with devastating results. Ranging from minor annoyances to nightmares of Biblical proportions, these are 25 most destructive small creatures in the world.
To alleviate confusion: We are defining “small creatures” as any living being smaller than 24 inches. “Destruction” can be of property, food, ecosystem, emotion, comfort, and health. Furthermore, though this list attempts to begin with “the least destructive” creature, the list is not strictly ranked and is open to interpretation.
Let’s start our list with the least destructive (but ever so annoying) creature: The louse. Lice are wingless parasitic insects that reside on people’s heads and feed on human blood. Though they are not know to carry diseases, they are known to impart unto the unfortunate host a most uncomfortable case of scalp itch. They usually spread via head-to-head contact with an already infested person and can also spread via the sharing of clothing and other personal belongings.
Cockroaches. Their mere sight is enough to fill any sane person with disgust and for good reason: Cockroaches carry bacteria. They also reproduce exceedingly fast with females producing about 300 offspring at one time. Cockroaches have been linked to asthma and allergies and if found in a home and left unchecked; can easily infest it.
Silverfish are small, wingless insects which can be found in people’s homes. Though harmless to humans, they are considered pests due to their diet of starches and dextrin. This translates into a diet of book bindings, clothing, coffee, glue, hair, paper, photos, plaster, and sugar.
Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of other animals and humans. Though they are not known to transmit any diseases, bed bugs are known to be the cause of allergic reactions, skin rashes, and even psychological effects with the later being the most destructive. Victims of bedbug infestations have been known to suffer from anxiety disorders, depression, stress, and sleep deprivation. Some victims have even resorted to substance abuse, vandalism, and in one particular case, the physical harm of their pet cat as manifestations of their frustration over bedbug infestations. “The issue with bed bugs is that you’re going to bed and you know that at any time some insect will bite you, and you’re at your most vulnerable, you’re sleeping,” said Dr. Stéphane Perron of the Montreal public-health department, University of Montreal and McGill University. “You cannot protect yourself.”
Restless and ravenous, army ant colonies are nature’s Mongol hordes. They kill and eat anything in their way, digesting it even as they tear it apart. Scientists describe army ants as having two characteristics: a migrant or nomadic lifestyle and group predation. There are actually several different ant species that behave this way but only army ants will kill everything and anything that crosses their path.