Will a solitary insect ever attack a human?

I know some bees, ants, hornets and other hive type eusocial insects will attack animals that disturb, or threaten to disturb, their nests.

Aside from hive scenarios are there any insects that will attack humans one on one? I am excluding insects like mosquitoes etc that use humans as food. I’m talking about going after and attacking a person in a determined sense even if the insect has the opportunity to flee.

Some solitary wasps (digger wasps, for example) will sting humans if handled or threatened (which is the same kind of scenario where the social ones sting, generally).

I’ve been stung on my back from a single bee while swimming in the middle of my pool. I believe it was an africanized honey bee, they are quite aggressive. However, they wouldn’t have occurred naturally without having been bred by man.

Giant Water Bugs will not hesitate to bite you in self-defense if you wade too close to them; they’re sometimes called Toe-Biters.

Praying mantises will pinch you with their forearms if threatened, but they won’t hunt you for food.

I have been bitten by a carpenter ant while sleeping.

I’ve had moths fly drectly at my eye without provokation. Last one I saw coming from over 10 feet away and I wasn’t moving so I can only assume it was up to no good.

Spiders and scorpions will also bite/sting you if they feel threatened.

Overall, I don’t think the behavior of insects is substantially different from other animals. For non-predators, there’s not much incentive to engage in potentially dangerous behavior when less risky options are available. Even predators will look for the weakest target that offers the lowest chance of fighting back.

I think most insects that can bite or sting will do so if they feel threatened. Even in the absence of a nest, the species as a whole (if not the individual) benifits from teaching the (perceived) predator a lesson. “Mess with black and yellow buzzing things and get stung!”

[QUOTE=Sailboat;15217390Praying mantises will pinch you with their forearms if threatened, but they won’t hunt you for food.[/QUOTE]

This one did! I saw it on TV! :wink:


When I was a kid I got at least one bee sting every summer, usually a result of “playing with” a single bee that had every reason to feel threatened. I don’t think I was ever near an actual hive.

Don’t forget scorpions. They’ll attack if they feel threatened.

Horse flies will act alone. Biting off a hunk of flesh and then soaring to some unreachable perch to feast on it.

I was once unlocking my car in the middle of a giant, paved, mall parking lot, and a honeybee came out of nowhere, landed on my arm, and stung me. I suspect it was rabid.

More typical bug attacks aside, I have been bitten by a grasshopper and a ladybug. The grasshopper might have felt threatened, but the ladybug just landed on my hand out of the blue and decided to have a taste.

Maybe… but I have twice been stung by honey bees that were hanging out under handles. (Once under a water faucet, where I got stung on the hand, once when I disturbed it by opening a gate latch and got stung on the arm.) So it’s possible that you disturbed it by opening the door and just didn’t realize that.

(And just FYI: I’ve spent a lot of time around bees. My father kept hives in our backyard for four or five years and for many more years out in fields on the edge of town. We had so much honey when I was a kid, there was a time when I couldn’t stand the taste.)

Once I saw a tarantula hawk dragging a tarantula off the road, and I stopped for a look. She clearly saw me, and moved to keep herself pointed straight at me as I moved around. She looked totally prepared to attack.


It was not. Bees don’t get rabies.

Pedantic warning:
Scorpions and spiders are not insects.
Thank you, carry on.

I think you got whooshed.:smiley: