The b
Published in

The b

The most terrifying insects in close-up

by Caitlin McCormack

Insects are some of the most common life forms on Earth, but you probably go through your day without giving them a second thought. They’re often so fast-moving, it can be hard to get a real good look at the bugs in your life. We slow things down — and crank up the fear factor — with these 20 close-up shots of some common, yet terrifying, insects.

Praying mantis

Not only is it terrifying to look at in regular size, but close up a praying mantis has an even more creepy appearance with its triangular face and alien-like eyes.


It has a terrifying name, and a terrifying face close up. The dragonfly boasts multifaceted large eyes, with dozens of sharp, pointy hairs on its “chin.”

Fruit fly

They’re so small in actual size you might think there’s nothing to be afraid of, but a closer look at the fruit fly would beg to differ.


The common housefly might look like a harmless bug, but when observed close up there is something deeply unnerving about its large, compound eyes. Not to mention the scythe-like extension coming from its nose.

Wasp (face)

They are terrifying enough on their own, but when you look at a wasp up close, it’s even more so. The wispy hairs around its face are as off-putting as the giant antennae.

Wasp (tail)

The tail end of a wasp is just as frightening as its face, with its stinger looking like some giant needle, waiting to pierce its next victim.

Black ant

Looking at the black ant close up is sure to send shivers down your spine. It looks quilled, almost like a porcupine, and with sharp, pincer-like jaws it’s sure to strike fear into the heart of any human.


The Apis mellifera bee looks more like a dark-winged soldier than a beneficial pollinator from a close-up angle.


They are known for their painful bites, and it’s easy to see why when you look at a horsefly up close. Its jaws are sharp, pointed, and angular — perfect for taking hunks of skin out of unsuspecting human victims.

Cattle fly

Seeing a cattle fly close up is likely to give you the heebie-jeebies, with their long legs, spiked bodies, and giant, rust-coloured eyes.


Known for voraciously feeding on pests such as aphids, ladybugs aren’t as sweet as their name suggests when looking at them closely.

Ladybug larva

Even before they mature, ladybugs are a scary sight to behold in the garden, with their multiple legs and numerous spiky spindles.


An unwelcome sight in any home, the termite is terrifying to behold from any distance. It has a large head with massive jaws built for destruction, and a gross, ribbed-back body.


The face of a cricket is sure to leave you feeling uneasy, with its multitude of sections combined with those feelers right beside the mouth.


The close-up face of a grasshopper looks like it should be the villain in some sci-fi movie, with its alienesque features and colours, not to mention those big beady eyes on the side of its head.

Tiger dragonfly

The giant eyes of a tiger dragonfly look almost like big bicycle helmets strapped to either side of its head, while its delicate-looking wings are almost spider-web-like in appearance.

Soldier fly

With a name like soldier fly, it’s perhaps no surprise that this common fly species looks so terrifying up close, with long antennae and large jaws.

Tiger beetle

The tiger beetle is a formidable creature when looked upon up close, with its multiple long, sharp spikes coming out from all over its face and body. Its large black eyes look soulless.

Bed bug

Bed bugs are a horrifying proposition even before you zoom up close on them. They have a surprisingly simple look to them, considering how complicated they can make our lives.


A nuisance to be sure, up close a flea is a terrifying sight, with its multiple spiny legs and iridescent body. Don’t look too close at its mouth, with long protrusions hanging from it.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store