Despite their modest size, insects can be quite dangerous. If a single insect is usually not scary to a person, then a huge accumulation forces everyone who wants to live on to get out of the way.
These simple creatures, uniting in groups of thousands and millions of individuals, really represent a tremendous force, making the "king of nature" feel helpless. The most famous and large-scale clusters of insects will be discussed below.
Invasion of crickets. Those events became a kind of legend for the Mormons. They have a legend about a truly biblical plague of crickets that happened back in 1848. And there was an invasion of these insects in the area of the Great Salt Lake. It was this year that Brigham Young brought the first Mormons to Utah. The winter was mild, and the faithful expected a rich harvest. But the abnormal warmth meant that all spring and summer pests, be they insects or snakes, did not die from the winter cold. This led to hunger. In such a situation, even large animals, such as the cougar, expand their habitat. Mormon crickets were large representatives of the superfamily of grasshoppers. The body length of these creatures reached 7.5 centimeters, but they cannot bite, being unpleasant only with their pinches. These crickets also cannot fly, which makes their flocks truly spectacular. Swarms of these crickets are common in the Southwest United States. But in 1848 there were as many of them as never before. Mormons, in fact, were doomed to die of hunger, but the "biblical" seagulls unexpectedly came to the rescue. Californian gulls also live in the Great Salt Lake area. After all, this reservoir is so large that it can provide birds with food. The Mormons have preserved a legend, which is confirmed by diaries and newspapers. Dejected and exhausted by the invasion of crickets, believers could only pray to God. And at that moment a huge flock of seagulls descended from the sky, undoubtedly caused by requests for salvation, and ate all the insects.
Migration of crabs to Christmas Island. The accumulation of living beings is not always a misfortune. This migration, for example, is considered a true miracle of nature. Every November, when the moon is full, red crabs from Christmas Island migrate to the shore. Their goal is to lay eggs, after which the sea inhabitants return to their usual element. The entire area of the island is about 135 square kilometers, and according to various estimates, from 43 to 100 million creatures are selected for it. Those who are afraid of such an abundance of crabs that completely cover the island should know that there are as many as 430 kilometers from here to the nearest mainland. And you shouldn't consider these natural migrants so harmless. The carapace length of an adult red crab can reach 11 centimeters in length. The claws of such a crustacean can even cut through human skin. During the mass migration of crabs, it is impossible to walk along the coast without stepping on them or crawling over a person. And from the outside, an unusual illusion is created, as if the island is bleeding. The crabs are fortunate that the island has been declared a nature reserve by the Australian government. People are simply not allowed here during migration. But recently, the number of crabs on the island has dropped to 10-15 million individuals. This is due to the invasive "yellow crazy ants" brought in at Christmas.
A plague of crickets in Oklahoma. And this story happened in 2013. It has been noted that an abnormal number of common black crickets have appeared in Oklahoma and some neighboring states. They are considered harmless, because they do not know how to sting or bite. Many people even deliberately breed crickets at home or use them as bait in fishing or as pet food. Only now, like all other crickets, these feed on plant foods. The invasion of such "harmless" insects becomes a real disaster for farmers. They spray an abundance of different pesticides into their fields to control crickets. For science, a huge accumulation of insects in itself is not a problem, but here's how to solve their killing by limiting access to food? Indeed, without food, crickets die quite quickly, from the outside it looks like a real plague. For example, in the city of Norman, the same Oklahoma, there were 10 thousand dead such insects. This seems like a lot, but in reality billions of crickets took part in the invasion. Customers found them underfoot, on store shelves, on awnings. When people ran, they were accompanied by the sound of cracking cookies. Experts point out that crickets appeared in abnormal numbers back in September 2012. It seemed that they all died out in winter. But by the summer there were even more insects. Most likely, this was due to the prolonged spring drought, which was replaced by heavy rains in June and July. The water softened the earth, making it much easier for the crickets to lay their eggs. Oklahoma residents were asked to turn off outside lights at night, close ventilation shafts and get in and out of their homes as quickly as possible. Even the sickening smell of a rotting heap of dead crickets became a problem.
Invasion of the Asian giant hornets. Asian giant hornets are a legend on the Internet. Everyone has read about them, they are afraid, but hardly anyone has seen them in the eyes, except for the Japanese and Chinese. But you shouldn't be especially curious, because those who really encountered these terrible insects describe them as nothing more than a nightmare. By their nature, these hornets are not particularly aggressive. The Japanese subspecies, also known as the "sparrow bee", is already comparable in size to a hummingbird. After all, the body length of such hornets can reach four centimeters. And the outer part of the sting protrudes six millimeters. The jaws of these hornets are very strong and large, especially in order to bite off the bees' heads. Bumblebees regularly use this gift, feeding on the larvae of their relatives. As soon as a large animal invades the territory closest to the nest, the reaction is comparable to that which is present in most wasps, braids or hornets. But in the Asian species, the bite is potentially dangerous even for those people who do not have an allergic reaction to the poison. Moreover, the bite is also very painful. The victims say that it was as if a red-hot nail had been driven into this place. Asian giant hornets are very mobile - they can fly at a speed of 40 km / h and cover up to 100 kilometers a day. And the secret of the poison of these insects is that it contains mandaratoxin. It is a very powerful substance that can literally dissolve flesh in itself. So the hornet sting leaves a wound the size of a bullet hole. In July-October 2013 alone, a swarm of these hornets killed 42 people in the Chinese province of Shaanxi. And in the other three cities, a total of 206 people were hospitalized. If the poison from the sting enters the body in large quantities, it will lead to kidney failure. One unfortunate patient required 200 stitches and 13 dialysis treatments during treatment.
Killer bees or Africanized bees. In Africa, special killer bees have formed. They are ordinary honey bees that have adapted to local conditions. They look exactly the same as their European counterparts. But for those, the bite does not lead to the death of people who are not allergic to poison. But a collision with killer bees is akin to playing Russian roulette. After all, it is not necessary to make special efforts to disturb these dangerous insects. If a person works with a lawn mower fifty meters from the nest of ordinary bees, then they simply will not pay attention to the noise. But Africanized insects will regard this as a threat. The reaction of the bees will be natural - it is necessary to destroy the enemy. And if most people are able to escape from honey bees, then killer bees can fly at a speed of 19-24 km / h for several hundred meters. And although the poison of these natives of Africa is no more dangerous than that of their European relatives, the danger lies in the massiveness of the bites and aggression of the attackers. Usually, people try to hide from the bees in the house, just remember to close the windows. And the encounter with such hordes of killer bees occurs much more often than you might imagine. In prosperous North America alone, about 40 people die every year from the bites of swarms of these killer insects. One of the last known stories occurred on June 3, 2013, when farmer Larry Goodwin from Texas, clearing bushes, drove into an abandoned chicken coop with a tractor. A disturbed hive of 40 thousand bees flew out from there. The farmer tried to get away from them on a tractor, but in the end he jumped out of it, managed to reach the hose with water and already fend off the bees with it. So he gave his neighbors time to go into the house. One woman tried to help Goodwin, but returned without even having time to reach him, having received several dozen bites. Even the firemen could not reach Goodwin with their water cannons, being immediately attacked. As a result, the unfortunate man was killed by angry bees. And the main difference between Africanized bees and European counterparts is the number of defenders that rise into the air when necessary to protect their nest. Usually, only 10 percent of the inhabitants fly out, but in Africanized bees this rate is much higher, which makes the swarm really terrible. And the bees do not even think about the fact that they die without a sting, like others gather. But the African species is so aggressive that it can crawl under the protective clothing of a person, just for the sake of a bite. No other species is capable of such anger.
Bloodsucking mosquitoes. Many people have a strong fear of vampires who can drink their blood. Meanwhile, there are real bloodsuckers next to us - mosquitoes, just relatively little harm from them. But if these insects begin to swarm, then they are a real danger. Mosquitoes do not sting like bees to protect themselves. But as soon as these bloodsuckers get big, the bite can already be felt. One individual is not so scary, except that she does not tolerate malaria or another similar disease. Usually, an attentive person will feel unpleasant and simply brush off the bloodsucker. He simply will not have time to drink much, not more than a drop of blood. But a whole swarm can cause a lot more problems. This is exactly what happened in August-September 1980 at Stephen Perry's Texas farm near Brazoria. For 20 years, billions of mosquito eggs lay dormant in nearby swamps. But after the flooding of these territories with sea water, an environment suitable for the appearance of a huge swarm was formed. Billions of harmless larvae turned into billions of mosquitoes, which immediately pounced on the cattle of the nearest farm. Perry's horses and cattle began to perish everywhere. During the autopsy, the doctors did not find any damage to the internal organs, only each animal lacked about half of the blood volume from the usual 26-34 liters. The farmer himself said that he could bring down several hundred mosquitoes with a wave of his hand. And these swarms came to the farm one by one for a whole month.
Cluster of butterflies Danaida monarch. Not all insect clusters are so terrible and dangerous. When the Danaida monarch butterflies gather in millions of clusters, this spectacle is simply mesmerizing. Monarchs are the only butterfly species in North America that migrate south like birds. But these gentle creatures cannot stand such a long flight. Their journey of 4 thousand kilometers to warm Mexico begins from Canada. On the way, the females lay eggs. The butterflies die, and the offspring born continue the unfinished business of the parents. Nature has created butterflies in such a way that they already know what to do. Almost all species of butterflies arrive for the winter in a place known in Mexico as the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, as well as in Michoacan. This is a whole ecosystem, which consists of a forest with an area of 55 hectares. Many oaks and pines grow here. But butterflies gather only on an area of 4.7 hectares. They sit on trees, branches, bark, ground, and even on top of each other, creating unusually beautiful fluffy orange clusters. And when all this swarm takes off at the same time, the sound of the wings resembles the sound of rain.
Roy Albert. This swarm was isolated, but managed to enter history under a separate name. The fact is that this is the largest known cluster of animals of the same species in the entire history of the planet. Only now the swarm was made up of an already extinct insect, the filly of the Rocky Mountains. The deep plowing method used at that time caused the extinction of the species. And after 60 years, it also led to the appearance of real dust storms called the Dust Cauldron. And the swarm itself appeared in April 1875 in western Missouri. A cloud covered the entire sky. Dr. Albert Chiyod of Nebraska, based on reports from farmers, studied the swarm, its speed and time to traverse the southern part of the state. It turned out that the size of the cloud exceeded the area of the entire California by 512 thousand square kilometers. The whole swarm weighed about 27.5 million tons. And there were about 12.5 trillion individuals in it. Like most other locust species, these insects could not bite, but at the sight of this swarm, the cattle rushed into a panic flight. Some animals even died from suffocation after insects flew down their throats. And, of course, all this horde of fillies ate everything that had leaves on their way. But at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the species became extinct, as man plowed up its usual habitat. As a result, the eggs buried in the ground were destroyed.
Migration of nomadic ants. It is no coincidence that the strength of ants is in their number and organization. When there is not enough food for the colony, it simply gathers and moves to a new location. And other living beings, from insects to large animals and people, have no choice but to clear the way. Dorylus ants can even cross wide and fast rivers, and they gather in balls to swim across them. To get food for themselves, these insects crawl into trees, into the very crown. And the most amazing thing is that these ants do not have eyes, and they navigate the terrain thanks to pheromones. Any creature that comes close enough to the colony can cause the alarm pheromone to be released from the guard ant. As a result, the rest of the swarm will immediately come to the rescue, which sometimes simply buries the offender under it. Even large animals may suffer, which insects will simply clog the lungs. Dorylus species prefer not to sting their victims, but to bite with their huge jaws. It is this part of them that the natives of Africa and South America use in the form of surgical staples for suturing wounds, without having at their disposal needles and threads. And such migrations of ants do not happen very often, usually once every five years. By the way, almost all types of fighting ants gather in the swarm. But among them, Dorylus is considered the most terrible. And in Brazil and its northern neighbors, another species lives, similar to the one mentioned.Nomadic ants Etziton Burcelli also travel from one place to another until they find a place rich in suitable food. During their travels, these insects form temporary camps to protect the queen and the eggs. Ants create real living walls on trees and bushes. As soon as someone disturb this "fence", a furious attack will immediately follow. Interestingly, these nomad ants can cause pain with their bite, but they are still unable to bite through human skin, in contrast to the much stronger species Dorylus. But Etziton Burcelli can harm the mucous membranes and eyes of a person. There are about fifty known species of nomadic ants, but the most famous is still Dorylus molestus. And this view does not surprise anyone in African villages, the aborigines are already accustomed to the fact that these ants kill and eat rats. Locals are used to giving such insects a wide passage, because they kill everything they can find on their way. Although there is no documented evidence of elephant eating, Africans claim to have seen it. In principle, this should not be surprising, given the fact that these ants can bite through the skin of an elephant.
Invasion of tarantulas. Spiders almost always live alone, which is understandable given their cannibalistic tendencies. At a meeting, representatives of one species may well feast on a relative. No spider will tolerate a competitor near its web. The same spiders that cannot weave webs do not carry each other just nearby. This is why congestion of tarantulas is very unusual. On May 8, 2012, the festival held in the Indian town of Sadiya at the foot of the Himalayas was disrupted by a massive invasion of spiders. Local residents said that hordes of medium-sized tarantulas descended from the mountains and hills, filling everything around, climbing walls and people. In panic, no one thought to study the behavior of the swarm. They wrote only that the spiders were very aggressive, rushing and biting even people and animals. As a result, two people died due to the invasion of tarantulas. But in fairness it should be noted that they still visited the doctor who squeezed out the poison. But when this did not help, they went to an already serious hospital. So it is quite possible that the cause of death was an extraneous infection. This strange invasion came as suddenly as it appeared. A multitude of arachnologists, intrigued by the swarms of tarantulas, came to Sadia. But then they had to face a riddle. After several representatives of a mysterious species were caught, it turned out that he was unknown to science. Perhaps it was a hybrid that turned out to be angry and aggressive. These spiders outwardly resembled the funnel spider or the Sydney leukopaut. But this species absolutely definitely lives exclusively in Australia. Where did the new spider come from in India and why, where the invasion came from, remains a mystery.