If Alien Invaders Were Insects…

Insect invasion
Centipede by 631372/CC0 Public Domain.

If Alien Invaders Were Insects…

Insect invasion
Centipede by 631372/CC0 Public Domain.

Insects number by the billions and yet we can coexist with them, going about our daily lives as they fly, jump and scurry all around us, probably because they’re so teeny tiny that most of the time we don’t even know they’re there. But what if insects weren’t so small? Would we still be able to coexist with them? Probably not. They’d probably be living on another planet, that is until they decide they want ours, after all. What if alien invaders were insects? What might they do to us?

Here are some creepy possibilities.

They’d eat us out of house and home.

Termites in Yasuni, Ecuador by Andreas Kay.

Even now, some insects are a pest because they eat the things around us, like paper, our food, the leaves of our favorite plants and the wood that makes up our houses. Just imagine how much more trouble they would give us if they were giant alien invaders. If they were locusts, which are what grasshoppers are called when they are swarming, they would eat all of the greenery around us and it wouldn’t take them long, too, since locusts can eat as much as they weigh everyday. If they were termites, they would eat all our houses and trees. And if they were cockroaches? They would eat just about anything just as they do now. There would be nothing left for us and we’d all end up starving to death.

They’d eat us – alive.

Image credit: Thai National Parks/CC BY-SA 2.0

What’s worse than being starved? Getting eaten, of course. And mind you, if alien invaders were insects, they would love to have us for dinner and in the most gruesome of ways.

If the alien invaders were dragonflies, they would simply pluck us out of the ground as they flew above us, eating us alive. We wouldn’t stand a chance since dragonflies are some of the most efficient predators in the entire animal kingdom. They can fly at speeds of more than 30 miles per hour, maneuvering through the air like ace pilots, and their compound eyes give them clear, 360-degree vision.

If they were praying mantises, they would lie in wait for us wherever we go and grab us with their powerful, spiny front legs. Once caught, we wouldn’t have a chance of escaping and we’d be lucky if we got crushed to death then and there. If not, they’d eat us alive head first!

Being chewed alive might not be so bad compared to having your insides sucked out, though, after you’ve been paralyzed, which is what alien invaders would do if they were ant-lion larvae, assassin bugs or robber flies.

Then again, does it make any difference if you still end up getting eaten?

They’d use our bodies as nests for their eggs.

Wasp nest
Image credit: Modman/CC0 Public Domain.

There may be something worse than getting eaten and that’s being forced into hosting parasites.

Some insects such as several species of wasps and bot flies are parasitic. They lay their eggs in the bodies of other insects or other animals, which serve as warm, comfortable and safe nests. In the case of wasps, they inject their host with venom, paralyzing it, and then bring it to their burrow so they can lay eggs inside it. When the eggs hatch, the host is eaten as the larvae’s first meal – inside out. In the case of bot flies, they lay eggs on an animal’s skin, which gradually burrows deeper and bursts out when ready.

If alien invaders were parasitic insects, they could do either. They could inject us with venom first, completely paralyzing us, and then lay their eggs inside us. We wouldn’t be able to move or do anything but we would be completely aware of those eggs growing inside us, which will eventually hatch and eat our insides alive. Or we could just explode to bits after the eggs hatch. Now, which do you prefer?

They’d dismember us.

Japanese giant hornet
Japanese giant hornet. Image credit: onezilla/CC BY 2.0

Japanese giant hornets are among the most terrifying insects. Just thirty of them can destroy a hive of 30,000 bees in just a few hours. What do they do with the bees? They kill and dismember the adult bees, leaving legs and heads behind and carrying off their thoraxes to feed to their larvae.

If they were alien invaders, they would easily do the same to us, killing us and then cutting off our heads, arms and legs, carrying what’s left of our bodies off to feed to their young.

They’d make us into their slaves.

If we’re lucky, the alien invaders might be ants and they wouldn’t eat us. They would bring us back to their planet and make us their slaves, though, and boy, would they make us work hard. We’d have to find food for them, take care of their young, defend their planet and help them take over other planets until we die from exhaustion. They would take our children, as well, and raise them as their own to be their slaves for life.

Queen and brood of the slave-maker Polyergus lucidus with Formica archboldi workers. Image credit: Adrian A. Smith, (CC BY 2.5)

They would turn us into zombies.

A caterpillar of the geometrid moth Thyrinteina leucocerae with pupae of the braconid parasitoid wasp Glyptapanteles sp. Image credit: José Lino-Neto, (CC BY 2.5)

What would you rather be – a slave or a zombie?

Voodoo wasps are parasitic wasps that do not just lay eggs in their hosts. They also use some sort of chemical to manipulate their half-dead hosts into becoming their bodyguards after they hatch. Just imagine walking around rotting with a big hole in your stomach, protecting the host that has just emerged from you until you die. Now, that’s just cruel.

Indeed, if alien invaders were insects, we wouldn’t stand a chance. So the next time you see a teeny tiny insect crawling near you and are tempted to scream, just be thankful it’s not as big as you or you’d be dead – or something worse.



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  1. Do you want to know about typos? I think there’s a problem with: “One caught, we wouldn’t have a chance of escaping and we’d be lucky if we get crushed to death then and there. If not, they’d eat us alive head first.” I do believe One should be Once…


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