Thanks to movies, especially the latest Indiana Jones entry, many people are under the impression that dangerous ant species are more deadly to humans than they are in real life. While there does exist several species of ant that can potentially kill a human being, there is probably no ant species on earth that can devour a human body….Probably, that is. Not too long ago, an individual posed a question to an expert entomologist, Matan Shelomi, concerning this particular topic. If a person was staked to a dangerous ant colony, how long would it take to die? This question may be dismissed as silly to some people, but the answer that Shelomi presented will likely surprise most people.

Of course, the answer to the above question depends on what sort of ant colony an individual is staked to. For example, the Maricopa harvester ant can kill a human being faster than any other ant species, depending on the size of the colony swarming a staked individual. Amazingly, it takes only a few hundred stings from this particular species to kill a human. Considering that ant colonies can contain thousands of individual ants, a human could die relatively quickly if left to the mercy of these ants. Of course, an individual could die immediately if they have an allergy to ant venom. Honey bees can kill a non-allergic human with 1,500 stings, far more than the number of Maricopa harvester ant stings necessary to kill a human. Also, people very rarely sustain one single sting from an ant, as ants emit pheromones that attract other aggressive ants to the source of their prey. If such an unfortunate scenario should ever befall a person, it would take about an hour to pass out from the intense pain inflicted by the ant stings. Eventually, the victim would die of dehydration and shock, and this is precisely what would occur when attacked by several other species of dangerous ant, not just the Maricopa harvester.

Which type of insect gave you the most painful bite or sting?