Nobody likes insects flying around and into our ears, eyes and mouths, or worse – delivering a nasty sting or bite. Although they have their place in the food chain, we sometimes find them irritating. Let’s find out which flying insects are the most annoying, and why.
Why they annoy us Some people are scared of bees, but these insects mean no harm. All they want to do is collect ingredients to make their honey. They only sting people, or animals, when they feel threatened. If we don’t harm them, or their nests, and stay out of their way, they will leave us alone. We need to do what we can to protect them from becoming endangered.
Additional irritation People aren’t allergic to bees, but to the venom in their stings. Bee stings can cause swelling in the area of the sting, but people who are allergic might experience swelling of the throat and tongue, and difficulty breathing. They would then need urgent medical attention.
Why they annoy us Who knows where moths hide during the day? They seem to appear out of nowhere at night. They have no regard for your face and seem to fly into everything in their path, leaving a dust-like substance behind. Isn’t it interesting that they are attracted to lightbulbs and candles at night but, during the day, they hide somewhere in the dark?
Additional irritation Sometimes these insects really lose the plot and find themselves in somebody’s ear. Other than that, they are pretty harmless.
Why they annoy us There are two main reasons why we don’t like grasshoppers. Firstly, when they fly into you, it actually hurts – even if it is just for a short period. Secondly, they destroy valuable crops and garden plants.
Additional irritation Most grasshoppers are harmless and don’t bite people, but it can be scary when they get together and form a cloud – the rather apt collective noun for a group of grasshoppers!
Why they annoy us There are between 300 and 400 species of midges in South Africa, and some of them bite. For the most part, their bites are just annoying and don’t cause reactions in most people.
Additional irritation It feels as if they always find our faces – especially our ears and noses – and fly into these openings.
6. House flies
Why they annoy us House flies are disgusting – period. Not only do they annoy us by flying in circles non-stop, but they also appear where we least want them to be – on our food.
Additional irritation These insects carry diseases, like cholera, E. coli (bacterial) infections and typhoid fever.
Why they annoy us They are big and scary, and they don’t think twice about stinging if they feel threatened. Because their sting stays intact, they can sting more than once, which can be painful.
Additional irritation For most people, wasp stings cause some swelling, maybe a bit of itching and some discomfort. But people who are allergic to wasp venom might experience swelling of the face, lips and throat. Breathing could also become difficult and, in these cases, urgent medical attention is needed.
4. Flying cockroaches
Why they annoy us Crawling cockroaches are disgusting but, when they fly – even if it is for a short distance – it feels as like an alien invasion of flying objects! Luckily, not all cockroaches fly, although they all have wings. Only the males can fly.
Additional irritation Cockroaches carry many diseases, including the plague, gastroenteritis and cholera.
3. Horse flies
Why they annoy us Horse fly bites are painful – because they physically take a bite out of your skin to get to your blood. It is the female, in need of blood for her offspring, that bites people and animals.
Additional irritation They carry diseases that mainly affect horses and other mammals, like swamp fever.
2. Blue and green bottle flies
Why they annoy us The bottle fly looks like a house fly on steroids. They are lazy insects that fly from disgusting places, like dustbins and faeces (poo), into our homes. They lay their eggs in carrion (the decaying flesh of dead animals). Gross!
Additional irritation Bottle flies carry diseases like salmonellosis and dysentery.
Why they annoy us Trying to sleep while a mosquito zooms around your head is super annoying. Then, when it finally feasts on your blood, the wound itches. The more mosquitoes there are, the bigger the annoyance.
Additional irritation Some mosquitoes carry malaria, which can be fatal. Although much research has been done, there is not a cure for malaria yet.