Which Is the Most Poisonous Insect?

The most poisonous insect is considered to be the Maricopa harvester ant, which is native to Arizona. A fully grown Maricopa harvester ant is about 1.2 inches (3 cm) long, and its venom is more toxic than those of bees, wasps, scorpions or snakes. In fact, a person would have to be stung by a honeybee more than 12 times to equal one sting from a Maricopa harvester ant. These ants cling to their prey and inject a venom containing toxins that can destroy tissue. About 350 stings from these ants could be enough to kill a person who weighs 150 pounds (68 kg).

More about poisonous insects:

  • The first recorded death caused by a poisonous insect was in the 26th century B.C. King Menes of Egypt was thought to have died as a result of a wasp or hornet sting.

  • The Maricopa harvester ant releases a pheromone upon the first sting of its victim, and it alerts other ants to come and attack the victim as well.

  • About 96% of deaths related to insect stings are thought to be the result of allergic reactions to the stings, rather than because of the toxicity of the venom.
More Info: discovery.com

Discussion Comments


One dangerous thing about ants is their pheromones. One little ant might not seem like such a threat, but there's always strength in number, and when the other ants are alerted to attack you, that could cause a lot of trouble. It's interesting how ants communicate with each other through a simple sting/bite.


The third bullet point really caught my attention. So does that mean that insect stings aren't as dangerous as most people think they are, whether it's ants or bees? Very interesting. However, considering the relatively small size of insects, I'm assuming it would take a lot of venom to affect someone who doesn't have an allergic reaction to stings.


After reading this article, I'm starting to get the impression that ants are some of the most dangerous insects. Despite their ridiculously small size, they have been known to be quite ferocious when provoked. I'm not surprised that an ant is one of the most poisonous insects.

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