How to Recognize Dangerous Bugs

Being out in the wilderness will become a big part of your life when the infrastructures of city life shut down. Whether you’re making supply runs or migrating to a safer place, you may have to stay several nights in the wild, unsheltered nature. During this time, you will encounter several types of insects. Knowing the difference between dangerous bugs and harmless insects can be the difference between life or death.

Girl looking at praying mantis on a stick she is holding

Know the Bugs

The most helpful information is to know what types of bugs are deadly. A book about dangerous bugs would be ideal to keep in your bunker since it would be near impossible to know every dangerous bug out there. But to get you started, here is a list of 5 bugs that could end your life in the wild.

  1. Ants: Ants come in different species, but the most deadly are the fire ant and the African Army ant. Many people are allergic to these species, making them even more dangerous. You will find ants in big mounds of dirt referred to as colonies. These ant colonies are dangerous because ants are very protective and aggressive around them. These 2 species alone are responsible for over a hundred deaths a year on average worldwide.
  2. Bees, Wasps, & Hornets: This group of insects is deadly to those who are allergic. The most dangerous species of bees and wasps are the African honey bee and the giant wasp. Bees attack in swarms and can be difficult to avoid if attacked. Avoid their habitats if at all possible. In America alone, bees take an estimated 100 lives a year.
  3. Spiders: Spiders can also be extremely deadly depending on the species. Every spider has venom in their bite but brown recluse, black widows, and funnel web spiders are among some of the most venomous. Death from spider bites is very rare because doctors can usually treat them, but if left untreated, spider bites can make you extremely sick and even cause death in certain circumstances.
  4. Fleas: Fleas seem harmless and, under usual circumstances, would not kill you. However, if an apocalyptic virus breaks out, there is a good chance that fleas could be involved. Several of population-thinning epidemics were spread by fleas because they feed on blood and transfer disease from host to host. The Black Death, which claimed around 375 million people, was spread by fleas.
  5. Mosquitoes: This may come as a shock, but the only thing on earth that takes more lives than mosquitoes, is humans. Mosquitoes are so deadly because they can spread diseases very easily and are hard to stop, like fleas. The most common diseases spread by mosquitoes are malaria, zika, West Nile, and yellow fever. An estimated 1 million people die each year from one of these diseases spread by a mosquito.

Research Your Region

It is important to know which bugs to watch out for in the region you are living in. For example, a brown recluse is very common in the Southeastern United States. However, black widows are more common in the North. The bugs you need to watch out for are the ones in your area because those are the ones you will encounter.

Large spider with yellow and black patches in its web

Appearance & Behavior

Knowing what dangerous animals look like and behave like could save your life. For example, brown recluse spiders are famous for having a violin shape on the top of their head. Black widows have a red hourglass shape on their jet black body. It’s safe to say that you should avoid anything with a stinger like scorpions and bees.

Typically, bright colors are signals of danger, so red, yellow, and other brightly-colored insects should be avoided. Similarly, insects with fur like certain species of caterpillars or spiders should also be avoided.

Learning to pick up on some of these universal signs can be very helpful if you come across an unknown insect. It is uncommon for insects to attack unprovoked so insect that shows aggression towards you should be avoided at all costs.


This information is helpful, but there are also some best practices for avoiding and preventing interactions with dangerous insects. For example, keeping areas clean and free from clutter can prevent insects from building nests near your bunker. Also, properly sealing food, especially sweets, can keep away ants and bees.

Insect repellent is also a great thing to store away. Also, there are some natural oils and smells that can keep mosquitoes and other insects at bay. Eucalyptus oil has been approved by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) as an effective repellent. And here are some homemade repellents to try.

Woman spraying insect repellent outdoors


Treatment for certain bites can be the difference between life or death. Mosquito bites are often itchy and sore, so an itching cream or apple cider vinegar can help. Also, raw onion and garlic have shown to fight infection from bug bites. Some bees leave a stinger in your body, so make sure to get stingers out. Also, ice is perfect for swelling and pain caused by bites.

For more survival tips and tricks check out some other articles at Prepper’s Base.