The Most Venomous Insect in the World

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Insects are unique creatures. Most of them might seem like harmless animals but are very dangerous especially with their venomous secretions. Insects use a different kind of defense mechanism. Most of them use venom in order to protect themselves from predators. These venoms are known to be harmless to humans but there are some chosen few that have been known to put humans into a coma. Bee stings are highly allergic and most people who acquire bee stings end up having allergies and others tend to have difficulties in breathing. But, the most venomous insect is far more dangerous than the bee sting.

The most venomous insect is the harvester ant specifically the Pogonomyrmex occidentalis species.

It takes only about 0.12mg/kg of venom for the harvester ant to kill a 4-pound rat. A honey bee takes about 2.8 mg/kg of venom in order for it to kill a 4-pound rat. That makes the harvester ant specifically dangerous when humans are exposed to such powerful venom.

The harvester ant’s venom is composed of amino acids, peptides, and proteins that include alkaloids, terpenes, polysaccharides, biogenic amines, as well as organic acids like formic acids. These proteins can trigger a dangerous lethal response to an individual that is allergic to these proteins.

Pogonomyrmex occidentalis got their name after the epithet occidentalis meaning “of the west”. Most of these specific species of harvest ants are found in the western area of the United States. They live off from the plant life found in the plains of the western regions of the country.

They usually harvest seeds and pollens that come directly from the plants or those that are dropped off from the parent plant. They store these seeds for the winter where they consume it for the entire colony.

Workers are usually dark red and are the largest of the colony. They forage for food during the cooler time of the day. What is special about the harvester ants is that they usually forage one kind of item each day and they change such preference every day.

They also lose what they have foraged when another colony tries to invade and steal from their own storage. Most of the time, these colonies fight for the food that they have foraged while others try to attack the colony itself to expand their territory.

What Do I Think

A single bite of the harvester ant will only sting an individual but when an entire colony attacks a single person, it can be very dangerous as it might trigger an allergic reaction to the individual which can have deadly effects on a person.  Some ants tend to bite and then spread the venom onto the bite area but harvester ants have a venomous bite which means that when they bite, it immediately triggers the venom.  One can avoid getting bitten by harvest ants through insect repellants or simply avoiding their territories or destroying their colony.

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