With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time for larger-than-life creepy, crawly creatures skittering across lawns, lurking in dark alleyways and dropping out of nowhere to frighten their hapless victims. Edging up close to 1,500,000 species, insects, large and small outnumber humans by about 1.5 billion to one. Truly Nolen wishes everyone a happy Halloween with a word of warning: Beware of mummies, monsters and MEGABUGS: the largest and scariest bugs in the world!
- Hercules Baboon Spiders
Although these furry arachnids, with their enormous 8-inch leg spans, could be frightening to meet anywhere, they’re as rare as Yeti sightings. In fact, these spiders are so rare, no one has spotted one in 116 years, a fact seemingly lost on pet storeowners who try to market other giant spiders and tarantulas as Hercules Baboon Spiders. In spite of their names, Hercules Baboon Spiders do not prey or live on baboons, but actually prefer to dine on insects.
- Brazilian Wandering Spiders
With 5.9-inch leg spans, Brazilian wandering spiders can’t take credit as the largest spiders in existence, but their deadly bite packs a walloping, painful punch. Unlike elusive Baboon spiders, these guys are known to wander onto banana boats bound for US markets. Just as an aside, Brazilian wandering spiders love to hide in your shoes!
- Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches
Despite their squirm factor, these 2 to 3-inch-long hissing cockroaches are popular as pets, are favorites in the living jewelry industry and are featured in many Hollywood films, such as the 1997, “Men in Black.” In nature, found scurrying around on forest floors on the small island that bears their name, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, while wingless, excel at climbing and can even scale smooth glass.
Although Madagascar hissing cockroaches appear large and intimidating, they don’t pose the health threats that the more familiar and smaller, German, Oriental, American and brown-banded cockroaches do. As the most adaptable insect, cockroaches carry over 30 kinds of bacteria, a number of parasitic worms and other human pathogens that can cause respiratory infections, such as Hantavirus and asthma episodes and allergic reactions. Because cockroaches multiply at hair-raising rates, roach infestations cause more alarm than spooks and specters for homeowners.
- Titan Beetles
Like cockroaches, beetles are highly adaptable and some of the most persistent garden and industrial crop pests overall. One of the planet’s largest known beetles, the titan beetle, a member of the long-horned beetle family shares the Amazon rain forest with many other large beetles. Growing up to 6.5 inches in length, titan beetles maintain mandibles that can not only snap pencils in half, like they are twigs, allegedly these enormous insects have been rumored to rip human flesh, as well. Many types of long-horned, wood-boring and plant-infesting beetles threaten crops and gardens every year.
- Giant Wetas
Related to crickets, New Zealand’s giant wetas are some of the heaviest insects in the world, weighing in at more than 2.5 ounces and measuring 4 inches long, not including their legs and antennae. Vying for the title of world’s heavy weight champion, giant wetas are also heralded as “wetapunga,” or “God of the Ugly Things,” in New Zealand’s indigenous Maori language.
While many of the world’s mega bugs are terrifying, many smaller insects can be more diabolical than giant species, due to the structural damage they can do and the threats to human health that these mini-menaces can cause.
- Crazy Ants
Ants, in an endless variety of species, can be challenging to control. Along with destructive carpenter ants and dangerous fire ants, crazy ants are attracted to electrical circuitry. Electrocuted crazy ants send out messages to other crazy ants that also get electrocuted, responding to attack signals. The accumulation of crazy ant carcasses can cause electrical components to short-circuit, resulting in electrical malfunctions and fire hazards. Contact a pest professional, such as Truly Nolen for all of your ant concerns.
Discreet and destructive, dry wood, damp wood and subterranean termites annually cause damage in the billions, worldwide. According to University of Florida researchers, invasive Formosan and Asian subterranean termites, that uniquely overlap only in Southern Florida are on track to cause damage to over half of Southern Florida’s structures by the year 2040.
Terrorizing neighborhoods, these aggressive termites are toppling utility poles and chewing through anything and everything in their search for wood to devour. Subterranean termites thrive under the soil’s surface, traveling through tunnels and tubes they build to and from vast, networked colonies. Early this summer, entomologists’ worst nightmare became reality—a Formosan-Asian super-hybrid was spotted in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Carriers of malaria, dengue fever, Zika, West Nile, two types of encephalitis and over 20 other pathogens, mosquitoes continue to make humans and animals suffer with their harrowing, bloodsucking habits that transmit these dangerous viruses. Other dangerous bloodsucking insects, such as ticks are also on the rise, due to warmer winters and overall rising temperatures.
According to recent studies, Lone Star ticks, not deer ticks, as previously thought, represent the primary carriers of Lyme disease. Because Lone Star ticks travel faster and tend to move in groups, the number of instances of Lyme disease are expected to rise substantially.
- Bed bugs
Probably the most troubling infestations of bloodsucking demons, bed bugs come out of hiding at night to feed on their human hosts. Attracted to exhaled carbon dioxide and the warmth of human bodies resting, bed bugs generally go undetected until red, itchy welts show up on their victims’ upper extremities. While bed bugs don’t carry dangerous pathogens, they can cause psychological distress, sleep deprivation and secondary infections caused by scratching.
Eliminating bed bugs involves high temperature laundering of all washable items and bagging of all non-washable items for treatment. Living with bed bugs until your scheduled treatment with some pest control companies may seem like the stuff of horror movies.
Contact your Truly Nolen location to schedule a free pest inspection at a convenient time for your schedule. Truly Nolen wishes you a safe and fun-filled Halloween, in the midst of mega bugs and scary monsters. For your home and family’s safety and peace of mind, contact your local Truly Nolen location to schedule a free pest inspection. Happy Halloween!