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What is the strongest bug?
When it comes to measuring who the “Strongest” bug is, such a thing can be a little tricky. Are we talking about pure brute-force strength to lift things? Ability to survive in harsh climates? People may argue about the absolute and #1 strongest bug depending on how they define it, so with that in mind, this list of the top 10 strongest bugs does not aim to crown a winner.
All 10 of these bugs are impressive in their own right and deserve admiration for qualifying for this top 10 list! Should you want to pick a “Winner,” based on your criteria, that is perfectly fine though! With that said, it is now time to list the top 10 strongest bugs in no specific order…
10. Japanese Giant Hornet
Size does not always equal a bug being strong, but the Japanese Giant hornet is both extremely large and powerful in regards to its venom and ability to kill a favored prey–honeybees. The Japenese Giant hornet will send-out scouts to locate honeybee nests and then once they report back-home where bees can be found a large number will go and decimate a hive in a matter of minutes–30 or so Japanese Giant Hornets can kill an entire hive. That is some impressive killing-strength and the Japanese Giant Hornet can be fatal to humans as well. Every year in Asia 30-50 people are sadly killed due to the painful and lethal venom of the Japanese Giant Hornet.
9. Rhinoceros Beetle
When it comes to brute strength the Rhinoceros beetle is (relatively speaking) the second-strongest animal in the entire World (with the strongest covered a bit later). Able to lift 850 times its weight the Rhinoceros beetle gets its name from how males have horns upon their heads that resemble a rhino. These horns can get quite massive and are often used for digging in the dirt or fighting other males for a potential female mate.
Despite their imposing horns, Rhinoceros beetles are harmless to humans. They do not bite, sting, or have any kind of venom that can hurt us. They simply eat rotting fruit, tree sap, and the bark of old and decaying trees when not avoiding predators or laying eggs in the aforementioned rotting trees (which helps feed newly-hatched larvae). The Rhinoceros beetle is therefore powerful, but gentle at the same time.
If you were to measure how strong something is by how many people it can kill, the mosquito wins. Yes, out of all the insects in the World from the most terrifying in appearance to the biggest or smallest, the mosquito racks-up the highest body count annually with over 1 million deaths due to how it spreads the fatal disease known as Malaria. They spread these germs through their process of biting and feeding upon humans, with the World Health Organization finding that every year over 500 million cases are reported of Malaria. Considering how many infections may go unreported or people could die without their cause of death being known as Malaria, that makes it especially scary. Mosquitos and their ability to spread Malaria has led to many global initiatives done in an attempt to inoculate people against Malaria, kill mosquitoes before they can breed, and to simply prevent infection through preemptive means such as using specialized nets. They may not have a ton of strength or be especially hardy, but in regards to the insect that kills the most humans every year, the Mosquito is the deadly winner.
Sometimes we measure strength not in physical prowess, but knowledge. This makes the fact that Bumblebees may be the smartest insect on the planet its own form of impressive strength! To maximize the number of flowers they visit to collect pollen, Bumblebees will engage in complex mathematics that even massive supercomputers struggle to consider all the elements and parameters of! Bumblebees instinctually can calculate how to get to the most flowers in the shortest amount of time whilst considering distance, their energy, and a multitude of other factors ranging from wind-direction to the highest-quality flowers. Bumblebees don’t have to stop and consider all of these elements however, they simply do it, “On the fly.” For this reason, if we are looking at the strongest insect in terms of smarts, Bumblebees earn that crown!
6. Fire Beetles
While the just-covered Bumblebees may be the, “Brightest,” insect metaphorically speaking, when it comes to literally the brightest bug the Fire beetle is champ. The glow from a single Fire Beetle is as bright as an LED flashlight and it is all energy produced by the Beetle–an impressive feat of metabolic strength! Fire beetles do not glow off-and-on like fireflies, instead giving off light constantly with the ability to get even brighter with their two body segments should the need arise to scare-off a predator. Even the eggs of Fire beetles glow! Despite being so bright you don’t have to worry about them somehow burning you or even biting–they mainly eat pollen and other smaller insects, making them harmless to humans.
5. Ironclad Beetle
One form of strength is being able to defend yourself against threats. Due to having the toughest exoskeleton around the Ironclad beetle without a doubt is tough in that regard! It will generally play dead if threatened because basically no predator is going to be getting through its shell.
You would need a power drill to pierce its outside or a hammer, nail, and very strong arm! This exoskeleton is not just for safety from threats, however, it also is handy for storing water to keep the Ironclad beetle hydrated–something very important for the desert climates it is generally found in (and where water can at times be quite scarce! While the Ironclad beetle may never go looking for a fight and if threatened may very well play dead, the fact nobody is going to be able to hurt it without some heavy machinery makes that incredible toughness its own kind of impressive strength!
If you’re looking for some strong legs, you are looking for a froghopper. Capable of jumping 70cm, that is 115 body lengths and the farthest of any insect around relative to its size! Thanks to having a body-shape conducive to jumping (flattened head, short antenna, etc.) and legs that are quite sizable with its body, the Froghopper has its intricate and incredible joints to thank for much of its incredible long-distance jumping. The strongest jumper around of the insects is the Froghopper by a (figurative) mile!
3. Dung Beetle
When it comes to strength in comparison to body weight, the Dung beetle is the strongest animal in the World (by that measurement, at least). To give you an idea of hower much power the Dung beetle has, it is the same as if an average adult pulled six double-decker buses packed to the brim with people! What does the Dung beetle use all this strength for? Well, as its name implies, pushing around (what else?) poop! Dung beetles will gather up the excrement of all kinds of animals, roll it into massive balls, and then transport these big circular meals to a burrow where a delicious (for the beetle at least) feast can be had. Compared to the size of the Dung beetle they can make some tightly-packed and impressively dense and hefty balls of fecal matter. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has got to do it, and the Dung Beetle is the best in its excrement-disposal field!
Read more about how strong dung beetles (and ants!) are in How Strong Are Ants Compared to Humans?
2. Leafcutter Ant
Many people know how ants are renowned for their strength relative to their body size, and Leafcutter ants are arguably the most impressive! With astounding neck-strength, they can pick-up and carry 1,000 times their weight in their mouth whilst keeping their neck carefully locked. Should they try to walk around with more it has been observed their head will simply pop-off–a shocking sight that is both a little gross and impressive when it comes to how determined the Leafcutter ant can be! This strength gets even more impressive when observed with a group of Leafcutter ants. Enough of them can carry things as large as lizards or baby birds! Therefore, not only is a single Leafcutter ant impressively strong, but it also knows that there is strength in numbers! If you’re interested in learning more about Leafcutter ants, read our article How Strong Are Ants?
If one wanted to define the strongest insect by which one is basically the hardest to kill, that definition would have a picture of a cockroach next to it. They simply do not die. A cockroach can hold its breath for 40 minutes, go for a month without food (up to a week without water), and can live for up to a week even if it loses its head.
Plus, cockroaches can withstand a great deal more radiation than what would be a lethal dose for humans so should the World ever end in a Nuclear war, they may very well keep on trucking (although they are still susceptible to massive amounts of radiation, so don’t believe urban legends about how they could survive a nuclear blast). Cockroaches are among the most adaptable creatures on Earth so in regards to simply not dying, that is one strength the cockroach excels at.
All Kinds of Strength
As this article has made clear, they are all kinds of strengths when it comes to identifying the top 10 strongest bugs. There is raw brute force, lethality, smarts, and the general strength to survive. All of these bugs are at or near the top of their respective fields of strength and that is why they are the 10 strongest around!
If you enjoyed reading this article, why not check out our articles on Can Ants and Worms Live Together? and Everything You Need to Know About Bugs and Your Garden
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