6 Terrifying Animal Swarms Capable of Causing Total Mayhem

When the Holy Bible -- inarguably the most messed up horror novel ever published -- calls out something as being particularly terrifying, you know it's bad. That's why, to this day, whenever somebody points out "a swarm of" something, you pay full and quivering attention. But forget rats or locusts, there are loads of lesser-known plagues, featuring new and exciting ways to horrify you. For example ...

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6
Giant Killer Hornets Are Invading Asia And Europe

Aside from a few deluded entomologists, mankind generally agrees that hornets are the premier assholes of the insect kingdom. Luckily, the bastards aren't big enough to do any real damage. Except in Japan, which has a hornet variety so big and terrifying that it would make Godzilla shriek and swat at the air with his tiny, ineffectual arms. And here's the really bad news: They're legion, and they're coming for us all.

Bob Jacobson/CNNTo this day, this is the only one we've managed kill.

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The Asian "Matayaks" are one of the most dangerous predators in Japan. They can reach up to two inches, the biggest of any hornet, and they have the appetite and fighting prowess to match. They defend their territory like they've got a guest part on Game Of Thrones -- terrorizing the countryside and decapitating any lesser bee they happen to find.

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But don't worry about the bees; worry about yourself. Matayak stings feel like "hot nails," and can easily pierce clothing. They're also incredibly lethal, injecting a fucked-up venom that kills red blood cells and shuts down your liver. And anyone allergic has better odds of surviving a grizzly attack than a swarm of Matayaks, because their stings cause such a bad anaphylactic shock that vulnerable people can up and die of a heart attack on the spot.

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And in case you've decided to simply give Japan a miss now, even that won't save you. Matayaks have recently started forming terrible migrating swarms, because ecological changes have thinned out their natural enemies, which they apparently had. (Does "all that is good in this world" count as a natural enemy?)

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In 2013, a swarm of giant hornets killed at least 42 people in one Chinese province, plunging the area into a state of emergency. And thanks to international trade, the little monsters are spreading to other continents as well. In 2018, the hornets popped up in the UK, which released an emergency message warning of an all-out invasion. Here's hoping they can find a little Bee Churchill to fight it.

Related: 8 Species That Are Threatening To Swarm The Globe

5
Mayflies Want To Drown The World In Corpses

Say you only have a day to live. What would you do? The right answer, of course, is to have so much sex that you dehydrate to death long before the timer runs out. In nature, that's called "doing a mayfly." That's a species that can reproduce so quickly and vigorously that their massive orgies blot out the sun.

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The common mayfly is so short-lived that Nature didn't even bother giving the poor bastard a mouth, because starvation would take too long. Instead they spend their few hours of life tapping in new mayflies so quickly that it's like they're trying to keep up a generational combo multiplier. The moment they hit puberty, they literally spend the rest of their lives trying to fuck themselves to death.

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Which is bad news for our civilization, because a mayfly finds nothing more romantic than fluorescent white light. That makes urbanized areas around the Mississippi River the perfect spots for their million-strong sex fests. They blanket gas stations, warehouses, and just about any place with outdoor lighting in such great numbers that they show up on radar as rain clouds.

National Weather Service"Alright, who's hogging all the lube?"

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Of course, the whole no-mouths thing saves us from having our bones being bleached by their ravenous hordes. But they still leave us with the disastrous and disgusting cleanup. In places with mayfly swarms, their dead bodies can coat entire streets, making every surface dangerously slippery. And as those who've had to remove countless corpse piles of post-gang-bang mayflies will tell you, they stink like rotten fish. And you thought human orgies were sketchy ...

(You were still right.)

Related: 6 Massive Animal Swarms That Are Impressive And Horrifying

4
The Sound Of A Plague Of Crickets Can Drive You Insane

In 2013, an army of millions of crickets invaded Oklahoma, covering streets, sidewalks, and businesses. Locals had to flee their homes, as their deafening chirps went on 24/7. People tried to fight them back, but since crickets have no problem going full cannibal, killing them only provided the others with a vital pre-sex protein snack. In addition, the mounds of dead critters filled the city with the smell of rotten meat, because your nose seriously can't catch a break here.

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Experts say that the unusual cricket boom is the result of climate change, which is increasing the duration of hot and humid seasons, which happen to be the ideal mating conditions for crickets. Which means that females can successfully lay up to 200 eggs. During the 2017 tropical El Nino season, Chiclayo, Peru had to evacuate its schools, as millions of crickets decided to have a belated spring break in its warm waters. "School canceled on account of unholy swarm." That's what the future holds for us all.

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Related: 5 Nightmare-Inducing Animal Swarms That Came Out Of Nowhere

3
Millipede Infestations Cause Train Crashes

Millipedes are no picnic, nor would you want them attending yours. Diplopods like the Portuguese millipede have a row of glands on their sides that secrete pestilent and irritating chemicals, which can cause eruptions on human skin. They can also release small amounts of cyanide, like they're starring in gross little spy movies. But a pinch of cyanide is nothing compared to the Portuguese millipede's most dangerous trait: their love of anything moist.

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Black millipedes can breed like crazy in damp environments, which wasn't an issue in their native, relatively dry Portugal. But in 1953, they were accidentally introduced to South Australia, and the country's seasonal monsoons saw their population explode in record time. Unfortunately, because moisture gathers on train tracks, black millipedes love to ride the rails -- a problem that has caused mass cancellations and loss of revenue for the rail companies.

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And it's getting worse. In 2013, two trains collided north of Perth, and they fingered millipedes as the culprits. According to officials, when one train ran over a disgusting, poisonous cluster of 'pedes, they exploded into a viscous mess, slicking up the tracks so much that the train's brakes failed and it crashed into the back of another train. Marking perhaps the first train disaster wherein all surviving passengers preferred to stay inside the wreck.

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Related: 8 Terrifying Animal Swarms Created By Human Stupidity

2
Giant Mosquitoes Are Sucking Alaska Dry

Like Spring Breakers at a hotel pool, mosquitoes love getting it on in disgusting puddles of stagnant water. Great news for the Arctic region, then, because all of their water is locked up as ice ... uh, right? Nope! Climate change! The dramatically high rate at which ice melts in the Arctic today has created the perfect mating grounds for ginormous populations of Arctic mosquitoes.

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Not only is climate change making these mosquitoes multiply like crazy, but it's also making them bigger. Arctic mosquitoes have gotten so bloated that in Alaska (American Canada), residents have dubbed them the unofficial state bird. In some parts of the state, you can't walk a city block without swallowing enough of the bastards that you have to count the calories.

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And it's starting to get weird. People have witnessed these ravenous bloodsuckers draining flies, because there's not enough blood in Alaska to keep them all fed. Forget about border walls; if climate change keeps getting worse, we'll need border nets.

Related: 7 Animals That Are One Flaw Away From Taking Over The World

1
Australian Farms Get Destroyed By A Mouse Plague Every Four Years

Between their bird-eating spiders, strangling kangaroos, and toilet snakes, Australia has plenty of objectively awful animals to go around. Yet despite the country being festooned with dangerous predators, there's one prey species that has managed to thrive in these inhospitable environs: terrifying hordes of mice.

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As protocol dictates, when the British founded their first Australian colony in 1788, they brought along a plague or two. But this time it wasn't typhus or cholera, but itty-bitty mice. Weirdly, the European rodents were able to thrive in the savage wilderness, seeing as how Australian carnivores preferred to take on more worthy prey (i.e. your tender face). In just one season, a pair of mice can produce up to 500 babies, and every four years or so, those suckers gather together to form rolling plagues of tiny teeth, devouring everything in their path.

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And we mean everything. They'll even try to eat pigs and other livestock. The worst invasion to date occurred in 1993, when the mice destroyed thousands of hectares of crops, rubber, electrical insulation, and even farm vehicles. By the time the plague died out, it had racked up approximately $96 million in damages -- and that's not accounting for all the therapy bills of the farmers left on cleaning duty.

Via National Geographic"Guys, I lost my wedding ring somewhere in there ..."

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