The 5 Most Horrifying Bugs in the World

We don't like posts that simply link to other sites because we want you to hang out here. We picture you sitting at home in a bathrobe, drinking coffee, wearing bunny slippers and chortling with an English accent as you peruse Zooillogix. Sometimes we have to make exceptions though...

This article in Cracked is crude, profanity laced, unscientific and utterly hilarious. Check it out here.

For those of you too lazy to click your mouse on the link, we have reposted one of the five below.

There are about 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 insects on earth at any given moment. Seriously, that's a real number. For every one of us, there are 1.5 billion bugs.

But some of them are so horrifying, just one is too many. Here are five you want to avoid at all costs.
Japanese Giant Hornet (vespa mandarinia japonica)


From: Japan, obviously.

Why you must fear it:
It's the size of your thumb and it can spray flesh-melting poison. We really wish we were making that up for, you know, dramatic effect because goddamn, what a terrible thing a three-inch acid-shooting hornet would be, you know? Oh, hey, did we mention it shoots it into your eyes? Or that the poison also has a pheromone cocktail in it that'll call every hornet in the hive to come over and sting you until you are no longer alive?

Think you can outrun it? It can fly 50 miles in a day. It'd be nice to say something reassuring at this point, like "Don't worry, they only live on top of really tall mountains where nobody wants to live," but no, they live all over the goddamned place, including outside Tokyo.

Forty people die like that every year, each of them horribly.

More scary shit:
Here's how the Japanese hornet treats other insects (and would presumably treat us, if we were small enough). An adult hornet will fly miles to find some squishy shit to feed to its children. Often times, it finds its food in, say, a hive inhabited by thousands of bees.

What to do? Well, Vespa japonica sprays the nest with some of the acid/pheromone and brings in reinforcements, usually consisting of 30 or so fellow hornets. They then descend upon the beehive like an unholy plague of hell-born death engines and proceed to make this world a scary goddamned place. This is maybe 30 wasps against 30,000 bees and the 30,000 bees do not stand a chance.

Behold the hornets systematically seize them with huge, wicked jaws and literally f-ing cut them apart, one by one by one by f-ing one. In three hours, there are piles of limbs and heads and just f-ing bits of things that could possibly have been alive at one point, and the hornets have stormed the hive and flown away with all the bee's children. Who will then be eaten.

Thanks to Josh Attenberg for the info.

More like this

(Image credit: Emmanouil Filippou / GreecePhotoBank/ Current Biology) Giant hornets are the honeybee's arch enemy. They enter nests, kill the bees and take them home to feed their young. Before leaving the nest, the pioneer foraging hornet secretes a hormone which attracts its nestmates.…
Swarms of giant hornets are getting ready to invade Britain. The 1.8 inch long insects feed their young with the larvae of bees and they can destroy a nest of 30,000 honeybees in several hours. Already, they have devastated bee populations in large areas of France. The Asian hornets, with a…
Earlier today, I published a post on how Japanese honeybees defend themselves from hornets with a mass defence that relies on heat and carbon dioxide. This article was originally written two years ago, and describes the slightly different tactic of Cyprian honeybees. When Oriental hornets…
The forests of east Asia are home to giant honeybees. Each one is about an inch in length and together, they can build nests that measure a few metres across. The bees have an aggressive temperament and a reputation for being among the most dangerous of stinging insects. Within mere seconds, they…

But bees ain't goin' out like no punks - different populations have at least two different defences against hornets and presumably get together at conventions to argue over whose is the most awesome. One lot piles on the hornets, vibrate their wing muscles and bake the hornet to death. The other lot also pile on to the hornet so tightly that it can't pump its abdomen and it chokes to death. It's like Mike Tyson being gang-piled and strangled by army of oompa-loompas.

They are truely the Spartans of the insect world.


A roundhouse kick.

By Lassi Hippeläinen (not verified) on 25 Jan 2008 #permalink

I had a certain innocent fondness for bees and wasps and hornets, despite a few stings here and there, before I read this.

Am rethinking visiting Japan, as well. Still...


Chuck Norris would probably want the "science" of how god created the hornet taught in science class.

That is some bad ass insect though... And props (do kids still say that?) to the guy who is letting it sit on his hand.

Holy crap! What would Chuck Norris do?

Cry like a baby as his body goes into anaphylactic shock from dozens of stings. Seriously, can we call an end to this Chuck Norris joke-meme?

And props (do kids still say that?) to the guy who is letting it sit on his hand.

"Jesus Christ, can't move hand...can't move hand...oh, god..."

"We picture you sitting at home in a bathrobe, drinking coffee, wearing bunny slippers and chortling with an English accent as you peruse Zooillogix."

Actually, that's a dressing gown, tea, and the slippers don't have bunnies on them, but close! (I'm not English, but I do chortle with an English accent, so I'll grant you that point.)

I've seen footages like that on TV when I was watching nature shows such as on National Geographic Channel and the Discovery Channel. These hornets are really something to make us feel glad we don't live in areas where the Giant hornet lives.

Note that it's European honey bees that the hornets annihilate. The Japanese honey bees have evolved with these six legged dragons and will attempt to swarm each one with a large ball of worker bees. They then generate heat which they can tolerate but which kills the wasps.

Hey, wouldn't it be great to import some of these, just to scare people with...

Kidding, just kidding.

By JohnnieCanuck, FCD (not verified) on 26 Jan 2008 #permalink

I've seen these critters on Japanese tv. It's scary. Watching the exterminators go at them is crazy. Even those guys are afraid to get too close. They wait til the hornets are asleep and then fog them and bag up the entire hive to dispose of it.

Come to think of it, my school had an area where some of these lived, and we couldn't open the windows in the middle of summer because they'd fly it and buzz around, sending the students flying.

This explains it all! There is a famous scroll painting, one of the oldest Japanese paintings around, that shows scenes from the Buddhist Hells as envisioned by the Japanese. One of them is people drowning in a pool of boiling pus and if they try and come to the surface, there are giant hornets waiting for them. I always assumed they were going to sting them, but now I know it's much, much worse. It's from the Heian or Kamakura period but I can't seem to find a copy in my books or online. I used it all the time when I taught this stuff way back when.

By AbsolutelyNOFaith (not verified) on 27 Jan 2008 #permalink

Oh no, how could you fail to mention the amazing way the Japanese Honey Bees defend themselves?! That's the *coolest* part of all! (No pun intended for those who know what I'm talking about. For those who don't, watch this:

Oops, you'll want to delete that last ")" in the link. Or just click on the link posted above in another comment.

Oh, great. Now I'm going to spend the rest of the day under my desk, curled in a fetal position quietly whimpering. Thanks a lot.

By Sophist, FCD (not verified) on 27 Jan 2008 #permalink

Years ago I read an account from a Central American entomologist about how he experienced a botfly maggot emerge from his own flesh while he was at a baseball game. 20 years later it still revolts me. Thanks for bringing back fond memories. Just remember never to piss off the insects. I'll be with Sophist, curled up and whimpering now.

Chuck Norris would die horribly, screaming and whimpering under a pile of hornets.

By fishdinner (not verified) on 28 Jan 2008 #permalink

this is one of those few animals that actually make me wonder why we haven't made them extinct yet. eewww.

By Nomen Nescio (not verified) on 28 Jan 2008 #permalink

Wow, I remember when Cracked was just a blatant rip-off magazine of MAD, but they've had some pretty awesome articles on their site. Yet they've got some consistently awesome stuff up on their site!

*spoken from under the desk, in between whimpers and sobs*

These Japanese hornet muthas remind me of my ex-wife.

And bunny slippers? Listen up, pal...I be an evilutionist.
I wear Chuckie Darwin slippers.

The beard itches a bit...

By BobbyEarle (not verified) on 19 Jun 2008 #permalink

thank you mersi

By ankara evden e… (not verified) on 17 Jul 2008 #permalink