Insects are an essential part of the ecosystem, but some of them can be dangerous to humans. In England, there are several insects that can cause harm, ranging from painful bites to life-threatening stings. Knowing which insects to avoid can help you stay safe while enjoying the outdoors.
In this article, we will discuss the top six most dangerous insects in England, according to various sources.
Top 6 Most Dangerous Insects In England
False Widow Spider
False widow spiders are one of the most talked-about insects in England, with many people fearing their bite. False widow spiders are not native to the UK, but they have been established in the country since the late 1800s.
There are six species of false widow spiders that live in the UK, with the noble false widow being the most commonly reported.
False widow spiders are often mistaken for black widows, but they are not as dangerous. False widow spiders are small, growing up to about the size of a small fingernail, and they are black or brown in color. While false widow spiders are venomous, their bite is not usually serious and is similar to a bee or wasp sting.
False widow spiders are not aggressive and will only bite if they feel threatened.
The Asian hornet, also known as the yellow-legged hornet or Asian predatory wasp, is a species of hornet indigenous to Southeast Asia. It is of concern as an invasive species in some other countries, including the UK.
The Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia) or northern giant hornet, including the color form referred to as the Japanese giant hornet, is the world’s largest hornet and is native to temperate and tropical East Asia, South Asia, Mainland Southeast Asia, and parts of the Russian Far East.
It was also found in the Pacific Northwest of North America in late 2019 with a few more additional sightings in 2020, and nests found in 2021, prompting concern that it could become an invasive species.
The Asian hornet has a very distinctive appearance, with a velvet black/dark brown body with each abdominal segment bordered with a fine yellow band and only the fourth abdominal segment is entirely yellow-orange in color.
Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures that can carry infections, and while Lyme disease is more common in the UK, there have been confirmed cases of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE).
Ticks are found all over the UK, but high-risk places include grassy and wooded areas in southern and northern England and the Scottish Highlands.
There are 22 species of ticks in the UK, with the most common being the castor bean tick (Ixodes ricinus) and the red sheep tick (Ixodes hexagonus). Most UK ticks do not carry infection, but the infection rate in any place in the UK varies from zero to high.
Ticks do not jump or fly, but they attach to the skin of animals or humans that brush past them. Once a tick bites into the skin, it feeds on blood for a few days before dropping off.
Tick bites are not always painful, and you may not notice a tick unless you see it on your skin. It’s important to regularly check for ticks on your clothes and skin, and on children and pets after being outdoors.
To remove a tick safely, use fine-tipped tweezers or a tick-removal tool.
Bees, Wasps, and Hornets
Bees, wasps, and hornets are all types of hymenopterans, which are related insects. However, they have distinct differences in their appearance, behavior, and habitat.
Bees are generally rounder and fuzzier than wasps and hornets, and they are usually black and yellow in color. Bees are important pollinators and are not typically aggressive unless provoked.
Wasps are slender and have a smooth body, and they are usually black and yellow or black and white in color. Wasps are predators and are known for their painful stings, but they are also beneficial in controlling pest populations.
Hornets are the largest of the eusocial wasps and are similar in appearance to yellow jackets. They are distinguished from other vespine wasps by the relatively large top margin of the head. Hornets are highly dangerous to humans and other animals because they can mobilize the entire nest to sting in defense.
It’s important to note that while bees, wasps, and hornets can be dangerous, they are not typically aggressive and will only attack if provoked.
Horseflies are a type of fly that belongs to the Tabanidae family of insects. They are commonly found in both suburban and rural areas near bodies of water, which serve as breeding sites, and where mammal hosts are most abundant.
Horseflies are bloodsucking insects, and only the females bite animals, including humans, to obtain enough protein from blood to produce eggs.
Horseflies have a gray or blackish body and are 10 to 30 millimeters long. They usually have wings lacking dark areas, but some species have entirely dark wings.
Horseflies are generally larger than the houseflies you may be familiar with, and they’re short, sturdy flies with large eyes, segmented antennae, and strong, blade-like mouthparts.
Horsefly bites are immediately irritating to the victim, so that they are often brushed off, and may have to visit multiple hosts to obtain sufficient blood. Horseflies are not known to be carriers of diseases, but they can spread various parasites, viruses, and bacteria.
Biting spiders are a common concern for many people, and while most spiders are harmless, some can cause painful bites that require medical attention. Here are some key points from the search results:
– Most spiders bite, but their fangs are too small or weak to puncture human skin. Many spiders have weak or prey-specific toxins that are unlikely to affect humans. If they do bite, they may leave itchy, red wounds that heal within a week or so.
– There are more than 50,000 types of spiders in the world, but only a handful of spiders have fangs and venom that can penetrate human skin, including the brown recluse spider, hobo spider, camel spider, wolf spider, black widow spider, and banana spider.
– Spider bites can cause redness, pain, and swelling, or you might not notice them at all. Many other bug bites and skin sores cause redness, pain, and swelling. So unless you actually saw a spider bite you, it’s difficult to be certain that your wound was caused by a spider.
– The first steps for treating a spider bite are the same for all spider bites, even those from a black widow or brown recluse. Clean the area with soap and water and put on some antibiotic cream. Then take a cloth and wet it with cold water or wrap it around some ice and put that on the bite. You can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain and an antihistamine for swelling.
– Spider bite victims develop symptoms such as pain and swelling in the site of biting, necrosis, pyrexia, pulmonary edema, respiratory distress, hypertension, and even death in some cases.
It’s important to note that most spiders are not aggressive and will only bite if they feel threatened. If you are concerned about spider bites, it’s a good idea to take precautions such as wearing long sleeves and pants, using insect repellent, and avoiding areas where spiders are known to live.
1. What is a false widow spider?
A false widow spider is a venomous spider that is not native to the UK but has been established in the country since the late 1800s. There are six species of false widow spiders that live in the UK, with the noble false widow being the most commonly reported.
2. Are Asian hornets dangerous?
Yes, Asian hornets are highly dangerous to humans and other animals because they can mobilize the entire nest to sting in defense. They harbor two-inch-long stingers and are highly aggressive.
3. Can tick bites be dangerous?
Yes, tick bites can be dangerous because ticks can carry infections such as Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). It’s important to regularly check for ticks on your clothes and skin, and on children and pets after being outdoors.
4. Are bees, wasps, and hornets dangerous?
Bees, wasps, and hornets can be dangerous if you are allergic to their stings. Around five to 12 people in Britain die each year from bee, wasp, and hornet stings. The sting itself is not the cause of death but the allergic reaction to it.
5. Can horseflies spread diseases?
Horseflies are not known to be carriers of diseases, but they can spread various parasites, viruses, and bacteria.
6. Are all spiders dangerous?
No, most spiders are harmless, but some can cause painful bites that require medical attention. There are more than 50,000 types of spiders in the world, but only a handful of spiders have fangs and venom that can penetrate human skin, including the brown recluse spider, hobo spider, camel spider, wolf spider, black widow spider, and banana spider.