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34 Poisonous Bugs (A to Z List with Pictures)

Poisonous Bugs

Examples of poisonous bugs include spiders, scorpions, moths, ants, and beetles.

There are many poisonous bugs throughout the world, some of which are household pests. While most people know about common dangers like the black widow spider or brown recluse, there are many other venomous creatures that can cause harm.

This article will provide a comprehensive list of some of the most dangerous bugs and information on their habits.

Examples of Poisonous Bugs

1. Africanized Honey Bees

Scientific NameApis mellifera scutellata
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeThey have spread to the south as far as northern Argentina and to the north into the United States, as well as throughout much of South and Central America

Also known as “killer bees,” Africanized honey bees are a hybrid of the Western honey bee and the East African honey bee. These bees are incredibly aggressive and will attack in swarms if they feel their hive is threatened. They have been known to chase people for over a mile, and their stings can be fatal.

2. Arizona Bark Scorpions

Scientific NameCentruroides sculpturatus
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangeinside the Grand Canyon, but they can be found on the Rims

These nocturnal predators are among the most venomous scorpions in North America. They mostly inhabit dry regions like deserts and mountains, but can be found in other areas as well.

3. Asian Giant Hornets

Scientific NameVespa mandarinia
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangenorthern India to East Asia

One of the most dangerous insects in the world is the Asian giant hornet. These massive wasps can grow up to two inches long and have a very potent venom. They are native to Asia but have been found in other parts of the world as well.

These hornets are incredibly aggressive and will attack anything that they perceive as a threat. They have been known to kill humans and other animals.

4. Asian Lady Beetles

Scientific NameHarmonia axyridis
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeAsia (e.g., China, Russia, Korea, Japan)

These red and black bugs may look harmless, but they can give a nasty bite. Found in Asia, these bugs have now made their way to North America, where they are considered pests.

Bites from these beetles can cause irritation, swelling, and even blistering. In some cases, anaphylactic shock has been reported.

5. Bald-Faced Hornets

Scientific NameDolichovespula maculata
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangefound on the west coast of the United States, in the Rocky Mountain areas, and throughout the Eastern half of the U.S

Bald-faced hornets are large wasps that can be found in North America. They build their nests in trees or shrubs, and are known to be aggressive if their nest is disturbed. These hornets can sting multiple times, and their venom can cause swelling, pain, and itching.

6. Black Widow Spiders

Scientific NameLatrodectus
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangethroughout the eastern US, from southern Canada south to Florida, and west to eastern Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas

These spiders are found throughout the world and are easily recognizable by their black bodies and red hourglass markings. Black widow bites can cause muscle aches, nausea, and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, they can even be fatal.

7. Brown Recluse Spiders

Scientific NameLoxosceles reclusa
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeAlabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas

These spiders are found in the southern and Midwestern United States. They are brown or tan in color and have a violin-shaped mark on their backs. Brown recluse spiders are shy and not aggressive, but their bites can be dangerous.

8. Browntail Moth Caterpillars

Scientific NameEuproctis chrysorrhoea
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangeon the coast of Maine and Cape Cod

These fuzzy little caterpillars are found in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada. The hairs on their bodies contain a poisonous venom that can cause rashes, welts, and even difficulty breathing.

9. Buck Moth Caterpillars

Scientific NameHemileuca maia
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangeoak forests, stretching in the United States from peninsular Florida to New England, and as far west as Texas and Kansas

These caterpillars are found in the southeastern United States. They have black, yellow, and white stripes running the length of their bodies. The Buck Moth Caterpillar’s toxins can cause severe reactions in humans, including rashes, blisters, and swelling.

10. Centipedes

Scientific NameChilopoda
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangethroughout the United States and the world

These multi-legged pests are found in nearly every climate and can enter homes through small cracks and crevices. While they are not aggressive, centipedes will bite if threatened. Their bites can be painful and cause swelling, but they are not typically dangerous to humans.

11. Fire Ants

Scientific NameSolenopsis
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangefound mainly in subtropical southeastern USA states

One of the most dangerous bugs in the world is the fire ant. These aggressive insects are native to South America, but have been introduced to many other parts of the world through trade and human activity.

Fire ants are very aggressive and will attack people and animals if they feel threatened. Their sting is extremely painful and can cause serious health problems, including death.

12. German Yellowjackets

Scientific NameVespula germanica
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangethroughout most of the northeastern United States, into Canada and down the Pacific coast into California

These wasps are common in North America, Europe, and Asia. They build their nests in the ground, making them difficult to spot. German yellowjackets are aggressive and will sting if they feel threatened. Their venom can cause serious reactions in some people, including anaphylactic shock.

13. Giant Resin Bees

Scientific NameMegachile sculpturalis
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangeparts of Asia

Found in Thailand, these bees are the largest of their species. They have a wingspan of up to four inches and are very aggressive. The sting of a Giant Resin Bee can result in anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal.

14. Hag Moths

Scientific NamePhobetron pithecium
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeMaine and Quebec to Florida, west to Nebraska, Arkansas and Mississippi

These moths are found in Europe and North America. The larvae of the hag moth are poisonous to humans and can cause skin irritation.

15. Hobo Spiders

Scientific NameEratigena agrestis
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangethe Pacific Northwestern United States

The hobo spider is found in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. They are brown and measure about 1/3 of an inch long. While their bite is not fatal, it can cause serious medical problems.

16. Io Moth Caterpillars

Scientific NameAutomeris io
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangesouthern Canada throughout the eastern U.S. and to eastern Mexico

These little caterpillars may look cute, but they pack a serious sting. The io moth caterpillar is found in the eastern half of the United States and its venom can cause intense pain, burning, and swelling.

17. Kissing Bugs

Scientific NameTriatominae
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangewarm southern states of the U.S. and in Mexico, Central America, and South America

Kissing bugs are one of the most dangerous insects in the world. These creatures are found in Central and South America and can be up to 2 cm long. They get their name from their habit of biting humans around the mouth or eyes.

While kissing bugs don’t usually transmit disease, they can be carriers of Chagas disease. This illness can be deadly if left untreated. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, body aches, and rashes. In some cases, the disease can lead to heart failure or paralysis.

18. Maricopa Harvester Ants

Scientific NamePogonomyrmex maricopa
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangefound in the U.S. state of Arizona, but it is also known from California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada

These reddish-brown ants are found in the southwestern United States. They have a very potent venom and can cause serious health problems if someone is stung.

19. Oriental Rat Fleas

Scientific NameXenopsylla cheopis
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangeworldwide, wherever its favorite host animal is found

These fleas are most commonly found on rats, but they will happily feed on humans as well. They can transmit diseases like the bubonic plague and typhus.

20. Paper Wasps

Scientific NameVespidae
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangein trees and vegetation, or under the eaves of homes, docks and garages

Common in North America, these wasps build their nests out of paper pulp. While they are not particularly aggressive, they will sting if provoked. Their venom can cause serious allergic reactions in some people.

21. Puss Caterpillars

Scientific NameMegalopyge opercularis
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangefrom New Jersey to Florida and west to Arkansas and Texas

These caterpillars are considered the most poisonous in North America. They have long, black and white hairs that can cause skin irritation. If these hairs are ingested, they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and intense abdominal pain.

22. Red Harvester Ants

Scientific NamePogonomyrmex barbatus
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeSouthwestern United States

These ants are found in the southern United States and their sting can cause a burning sensation. The poison of these ants is strong enough to kill small animals and children.

23. Red Widow Spiders

Scientific NameLatrodectus bishopi
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeLake Wales Ridge and other Central and Southern Florida areas

The Red Widow spider is found in the southern United States and is particularly dangerous because its venom can cause anaphylactic shock in some people. This spider is usually only aggressive if it feels threatened, so it is important to be careful when handling them.

24. Sac Spiders

Scientific NameClubionidae
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangecorners along baseboards, along the ceiling, and beneath and behind furniture

The sac spider is one of the most common household pests. These small, light-colored spiders are often found in dark corners or around windows. They spin webs to catch prey, but they will also bite humans if they feel threatened.

While the bite of a sac spider is not usually deadly, it can cause serious reactions in some people. Symptoms of a sac spider bite include pain, swelling, and redness. In rare cases, the bites can lead to more serious problems like necrosis (tissue death) or anaphylactic shock.

25. Saddleback Caterpillars

Scientific NameAcharia stimulea
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangeeastern North America

The Saddleback Caterpillar is found in North America and its venom can cause a severe allergic reaction. The caterpillar has bright colors and two dark spots that look like eyes, which serve as a warning to predators.

While the stings are not fatal, they can be very painful and cause swelling, itching, and difficulty breathing.

26. Sandflies

Scientific NamePhlebotominae
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangerock crevices, caves, and rodent burrows

Sandflies are small, bloodsucking insects that are found in tropical and subtropical regions. They are attracted to the carbon dioxide that humans exhale, and their bite can cause severe irritation.

27. Southern Black Widow Spiders

Scientific NameLatrodectus mactans
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangethe southeastern region

These spiders are found in the southern United States and their bite can be very dangerous. The posion of a black widow is 15 times more potent than that of a rattlesnake.

28. Spiny Oak-Slug Caterpillars

Scientific NameEuclea delphinii
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangeon or near deciduous forests

These caterpillars might look cute, but they pack a powerful punch. Found in the eastern United States, these caterpillars have bristles that can break off and stay in your skin. The venom from these stingers can cause intense pain, burning, and swelling.

29. Striped Bark Scorpions

Scientific NameCentruroides vittatus
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangethroughout the midsection of the United States and northern Mexico

The striped bark scorpion is one of the most dangerous bugs in North America. These nocturnal creatures are most commonly found in the southwestern United States, where they feast on crickets and other small insects.

These scorpions are relatively small, measuring only about three inches long. However, their venom is incredibly potent and can cause serious health problems in humans, including seizures, muscle spasms, and respiratory failure.

30. Tarantula Hawks

Scientific NamePepsini
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangeevery continent except Europe and Antartica

The tarantula hawk is a large wasp that can be found in the southwestern United States. These wasps are attracted to dark-colored objects, which is why they are often seen near pools and patios. The tarantula hawk preys on tarantulas, paralysing them with its sting before dragging them back to its nest.

While the sting of a tarantula hawk is not lethal to humans, it is said to be one of the most painful insect stings in the world. Symptoms include intense burning, swelling, and nausea.

31. Tarantulas

Scientific NameTheraphosidae
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeMexico and Central and South America

Tarantulas are large, hairy spiders that can be found in warm climates all over the world. These spiders vary in size and appearance, but all tarantulas have venomous fangs that can cause serious harm to humans.

While tarantulas are not typically aggressive, they will bite if they feel threatened. Tarantula bites usually result in severe pain and swelling, and can sometimes cause serious health problems.

32. Velvet Ants

Scientific NameMutillidae
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangeopen, dry, sunny, sandy areas such as sunny lawns or cemeteries

These large insects are actually wasps that have evolved to where the females can no longer fly. They are found in North America, Europe, and Asia. The pain from their sting is said to be worse than a Bee sting, and they will attack if provoked.

33. Wheel Bugs

Scientific NameArilus cristatus
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangethroughout Florida

The wheel bug is a large, true bug that belongs to the family Reduviidae. The adult insect is easily recognized by its distinctive shape. The head and thorax are narrow and elongated, while the abdomen is large and round. Wheel bugs get their name from the gear-like shape on their backs.

The wheel bug is found in North America and parts of Mexico. It feeds on a variety of soft-bodied insects, including caterpillars, stink bugs, and aphids. The bite of a wheel bug is extremely painful and can cause swelling and redness at the site.

34. Wolf Spiders

Scientific NameLycosidae
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangewoodlands and dry, inland shrub lands to wet, coastal forests and alpine meadows

Often considered one of the most dangerous spiders, wolf spiders are found throughout the world. These spiders are large and can grow up to 3 inches in length. They are brown or gray in color and have a hairy appearance. Wolf spiders are not aggressive and will only bite if they feel threatened.


There are many different types of dangerous insects in the world. Some, like the Africanized honey bee, are aggressive and will attack people if they feel threatened. Others, like the brown recluse spider, are shy but can still cause serious harm with their venomous bites.

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