Everyone has heard horror stories about exceedingly disgusting, deadly or seemingly fictitious instances of insects killing people. However, aside from dubious rumors and numerous cheesy movies, very few people have experienced, or know someone who has experienced, severe medical problems as a result of an insect attack. If you had to name certain insects that have been purported as being deadly to humans you would likely mention mosquitoes, bees, wasps or a variety of other venomous, but rarely deadly, flying insect species. While all of the above named insects have claimed numerous human lives over the course of history, there is one insect that you would never expect to be deadly, and that would be ants. Given the abundance of ants in the environment, and the frequency with which people unwittingly step on them during leisurely outdoor strolls, you would think that ants would be among the most innocuous of insect groups. However, several different ant species have been know to kill people, and they were not all fire ants. In fact, deadly ant species have killed people living in regions all over the world, including America, Australia, Africa, South America, Europe and elsewhere.
In Australia, there exists a potentially deadly ant species that is commonly known as Jack jumper ant. This ants kills more people every year in Australia than snakes, spiders, wasps and sharks do combined. These ants can be found below rocks, and they sting their victims as opposed to biting them.
The African safari ant species forms columns that contain a whopping 50 million individual ants. During times of drought, these ants can march through villages, killing everything in sight. When they encounter a dwelling, they also venture inside in order to eat all the tasty food, cats, dogs and humans that they can find. These ravenous ants can strip an animal of its flesh rapidly. Surprisingly, authorities in Africa use these ants to rid fields and homes of pests. Any animal pest that remains in a home when these ants come marching through, will surely be brutally killed if they fail to escape in time. Luckily, these ants are slow moving enough for humans to successfully avoid.
Have you ever sustained painful bites from an ant? If so, do you know what species of ant bit you?