Miami, FL

Experts Warn of The Deadliest Insects in South Florida

Toni Koraza
Photo by Alexandre Debiève on Unsplash

Insects are insects, right? They're tiny and unthreatening. So what's the big deal with this list of insects in Miami? Well, these insects happen to be very dangerous.

If you live in Miami or planning on visiting Magic City anytime soon, maybe you'd like to know about all trouble that you may encounter in Florida's top destination. Of course, the subtropics like South Florida are swarmed with insects, so it's better to know what's around when walking down these magic streets.

1. Ants & Fire Ants

Ants typically live where there is an over-abundance of food, and they will continue to breed until their environment. Therefore, these hard-working creatures are usually not your enemy. However, the Florida Fire Ants are something different.

The ants in Florida are from the Solenopsis genus, and they have one of the most painful stings. Fire ants actually live all over North America, but their numbers grow rapidly in warm climates like southeast Florida, where there is plenty of food for them to feed on. They typically nest underground or inside trees near water sources because that provides a constant temperature for them to live in.

Fire Ants are dangerous because they usually nest and feed on the ground, so when you're walking around outside, there is a high chance that you will step on one of their mounds or accidentally disturb one by kicking it with your shoe. When this happens, the workers at the top will signal other ants to come out and attack you. First, they will bite with their mandibles until they get a hold of your skin, then try to sting you repeatedly.

There's more. But you've got the gist of why these ants can wreak havoc on your daily commute.

2. Wasps

Florida wasps are dangerous because they will attack insects and people when threatened. Unlike bees, who usually only have one stinger per body segment, wasps can sting multiple times. Their aggressiveness is a major cause for concern as these insects might react aggressively if their nest or territory is being intruded upon. They also may sting humans several times.

3. Scorpions

Miami is home to several dangerous scorpions. The largest of these is the bark scorpion. Bark scorpions can be found in burrows near water sources, such as holes in trees and piles of lumber, bricks, or stones next to the water. These insects are known to be aggressive and predatory. They inject venom, which can lead to pain, swelling, numbness, itching, or redness around the site of the bite.

5. Buck Moth Caterpillar

The buck moth is a common insect that lives in oak forests in the United States. It can be found across South Florida. The larvae (the baby of the moth) usually come out of the trees first in springtime. Buck Moths don't bite. But they're dangerous nonetheless. Buck Moth Caterpillars have poison hairs that burn and make you feel sick. The burning can last for a day or two and can be painful as a bee sting.

6. Flannel Moth Caterpillar

Flannel Moth is about 1 inch long when it is mature. It has soft hairs mixed with stinging hairs. These insects are found in forests, and they're not usually considered dangerous. However, these insects can cause some harm to humans when their stinging hairs come into contact with them. These insects produce a painful sting that is comparable to the pain of nettles or poison ivy.

7. Hag Caterpillar

The Hag is a light or dark brown insect with nine pairs of stinging lateral processes. The insects can be found in large numbers during the late Spring and early Summer, feeding on foliage. The Hag is one of the most dangerous insects because it has a painful sting that causes redness around where they have been stung. They can cause a severe reaction for anyone who has a history of hayfever, asthma, and other allergies.

Disclosure: Florida has many other types of dangerous insects. These seven were picked at the author's discretion. Hardly any of Florida's incests are lethal for humans (excluding spiders, which are technically not insects.)

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Curious Fellow | Founder at Mad Company, and MadX.Digital | Writes about Current Events, Lifestyle, and Money |

Miami, FL

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