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Top 7 Most Dangerous Australian Insects

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The most dangerous Australian insects are white-tailed spiders, giant centipedes, paralysis ticks, redback spiders, European wasps, funnel-web spiders, and honeybees.

Did you know that Australia is home to some of the world’s deadliest insects?

While most associate insects with small, harmless, and helpless creatures, some insects can kill you.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at seven of the most dangerous Australian insects. From venomous spiders to lethal mantises, these creatures are capable of inflicting serious harm on humans.

A List of Dangerous Australian Insects

There are many dangerous insects in Australia, some of which can cause serious harm to humans. 

Here are seven of the most dangerous insects in Australia:

  • White Tailed Spiders
  • Giant Centipedes
  • Paralysis Ticks
  • Redback Spiders
  • European Wasps
  • Funnel-web Spiders
  • Honeybees

1. White Tailed Spiders

White Tailed Spiders
Image Source
Scientific NameLampona murina
Common NameWhite Tailed Spider
Animal OrderAraneae
DietInsects and other spiders such as redback spiders
HabitatLeaf litters, underneath barks and rocks

The White Tailed Spider is a common spider found in Australian homes. Although it is not considered to be directly deadly, it can cause serious illness in some people.

Symptoms of a white-tailed spider bite include severe pain, swelling, and redness at the site of the bite, and sometimes nausea, vomiting, and fever[1]. In rare cases, the bite leads to more serious problems such as necrosis (death of tissue) and ulceration.

If you are bitten by a White Tailed Spider, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. 

2. Giant Centipedes

Giant Centipedes
Scientific NameScolopendra gigantea
Common NameGiant Centipede
Animal OrderScolopendromorpha
DietSmall invertebrates and other small animals suchs as frogs
HabitatLeaf litters, underneath barks and rocks

Giant centipedes are one of the most dangerous insects in Australia. They grow up to 30cm in length and are extremely venomous. 

Their bites cause severe pain, swelling, and even paralysis. If you are bitten by a Giant Centipede, it is important to seek medical help immediately.

Giant Centipedes are found all over Australia but are most commonly found in tropical and subtropical areas. They are nocturnal predators and often hide under rocks and logs during the day. 

At night, they come out to hunt for food. Their diet consists mainly of insects, but they will also eat small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.

If you come across a Giant Centipede, it is important to exercise caution. Do not try to pick it up or touch it. If you must remove one from your home, it is best to call a professional pest control company.

3. Paralysis Ticks

How to Identify a Deer Tick
Scientific NameIxodes holocyclus
Common NameParalysis tick
Animal OrderIxodida
DietBlood of host animals such as birds, mammals, and reptiles
HabitatWoodlands

Paralysis ticks are a serious health hazard to both humans and animals in Australia. Though their bites are usually painless, they can cause paralysis and even death if not treated promptly.

There are three main species of paralysis tick found in Australia, all of which are capable of causing serious illness or death[2]

  • Ixodes holocyclus (also known as the Australian paralysis tick) is the most common. It is found along the east coast of Australia, from Queensland to Victoria. 
  • Ixodes scapularis (or the deer tick) is found in southeastern Australia. 
  • Ixodes pacificus (the Pacific Coast tick) is found along the coast of Western Australia.

Paralysis ticks attach themselves to their hosts (humans or animals) by embedding their mouthparts into the skin. They then feed on blood for several days, during which time they can swell to more than ten times their original size.

4. Redback Spiders

Redback Spiders
Scientific NameLatrodectus hasselti
Common NameRedback Spider
Animal OrderAraneae
DietInsects, small lizards
HabitatLogs or under rocks

Redback spiders, also called telephone-wire spiders or simply redbacks, are a species of highly venomous spiders indigenous to Australia. Their bites can be extremely painful and even fatal to humans if not treated promptly.

Though most bites occur around the home, they have also been known to attack humans in other settings, such as when the spider becomes entangled in clothing.

Redbacks usually build their webs close to the ground in dry areas, such as in garden sheds, around the home, or under outdoor furniture. They are not aggressive and typically only bite humans if threatened. 

5. European Wasps

European Wasps
Scientific NameVespula germanica
Common NameEuropean Wasp
Animal OrderHymenoptera
DietFruits, insects, pet food, carrion
HabitatCavities in homes, ceilings, soil, tree trunks

European wasps are one of the most dangerous insects in Australia. They are responsible for countless deaths and injuries each year, and their sting is incredibly painful. 

If you see a European Wasp, it is important to stay away from it and call an exterminator immediately.

European Wasps are aggressive, attacking anything that they perceive as a threat. They are especially dangerous to children and the elderly, as their stings can cause serious medical problems. 

If you are ever stung by a European Wasp, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

These wasps are commonly found in urban areas, as they are attracted to human activity. They build their nests in areas like gardens, parks, and playgrounds.

6. Funnel-web Spiders

Funnel-web Spiders
Scientific NameAtracidae
Common NameFunnel-web Spider
Animal OrderAraneida
DietSpiders, small lizards, snails, ground-dwelling insects
Habitatunder rocks, decaying logs, crevices, rough-barked trees

Funnel-web spiders are found in heavily forested areas near Sydney, and their bites can be fatal to humans[3]. Although they are not aggressive, their venom is extremely potent and can cause serious illness or death if not treated immediately. 

If you are bitten by a funnel-web spider, it is important to seek medical help immediately. You also need to identify the spider to make sure you’re given the right treatment.

There are several different species of Funnel-web Spiders, but the most dangerous is the Sydney funnel-web spider. 

This spider is black in color and has a body that is about 1 inch long. The male spiders are more dangerous than the females, and their bites are more likely to be fatal. The venom of the Sydney funnel-web spider is a neurotoxin that can cause paralysis and death within hours if not treated immediately.

Although most funnel-web spiders live in heavily forested areas, they have been known to wander into urban areas. 

If you see a funnel-web spider in your home or yard, it is important to call a professional pest control company immediately. While they are not aggressive, they will bite if threatened.

7. Honeybees

Honeybees
Scientific NameApis
Common NameHoneybee
Animal OrderHymenoptera
DietPollen and nectar from flowering plants
HabitatGardens, orchards, woodlands, meadows

Honeybees are responsible for many deaths every year, and their sting can be extremely painful. While their sting won’t kill most people, it can if you are allergic to their venom.

If you aren’t allergic to bees, a sting will likely just hurt.

Here’s how to avoid a bee sting:

  1. Be aware of where they nest. Honeybees often build their nests in trees. If you see a nest, stay away from it and call someone to remove it.
  2. Wear protective clothing around bees. If you are going to an area where there are bees, wear long sleeves and pants. This will help to protect your skin from their stings.
  3. Don’t try to swat at a bee. If you do, you are likely to anger the bee and get stung. Just let them fly away.
  4. If you are allergic to bee stings, carry an EpiPen. If you are stung, use the EpiPen to inject yourself with epinephrine. This will help to stop the allergic reaction possibly saving your life.

FAQs

What Is the Biggest Bug in Australia?

The largest bug in Australia is the Goliath beetle. These massive insects can grow up to 12cm in length and weigh up to 35 grams. Their size and weight make them one of the heaviest beetles in the world.

Why Are There So Many Bugs in Australia?

There are many reasons why there are so many bugs in Australia. One reason is that the climate is perfect for them. The weather is warm and humid, which is ideal for bugs to thrive. There are also a lot of open spaces in Australia, so bugs can easily find places to live.

About Misfit Animals Staff

The Misfit Animals staff consists of animal lovers, pet enthusiasts, veterinarians, zoologists, and other animal experts. Our goal is to provide people with information on proper animal care.

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