The Most Dangerous Bugs in Ohio

When you think of dangerous animals, there’s a good chance that creatures like  Northern Copperhead snakes, the timber rattlesnake, and other venomous snakes come to mind as the most dangerous animal. 

But did you know that there are countless insects, including many species of spiders, mosquitoes, and other small bugs that can be incredibly dangerous? And unfortunately, many of these are common in Ohio. 

From disease-spreading mosquitoes to painful, venomous bites, there are plenty of reasons to be wary of bugs. And if you live in Ohio, you have even more reason to be on the lookout for these pests.

Here are some of the most dangerous bugs in Ohio—and how you can avoid them.


Key Takeaways

  • Although there aren’t as many large numbers of dangerous pests in the state of Ohio as there are in the southernmost states, there are still a few creatures you’ll want to keep an eye out for.
  • Spiders such as brown recluse and southern black widow spiders might be relatively rare, but they can be deadly.
  • Even common pests like mosquitoes can pack a serious punch, transmitting a variety of deadly diseases. 


Brown Recluse Spider 

Although brown recluse spiders are not aggressive, they will bite if they feel threatened. This often happens when people accidentally encounter them in their homes. Brown recluse spiders are most often found in basements, attics, and other dark, secluded places. They like to hide in boxes, shoes, and clothes that have been undisturbed for a long time. 

If you are going to be working in an area where brown recluse spiders might be present, it is important to take some precautions. Wear long sleeves and pants to protect your skin from being bitten. Shake out any clothing or shoes that have been sitting undisturbed for a while before putting them on. And be sure to inspect any boxes or packages that come into your home before bringing them inside. 

If you have noticed an infestation of what you suspect to be brown recluse spiders, get in touch with a pest control company right away.

A brown recluse bite can cause serious skin reactions, including necrosis (death of tissue). The effects of this harm can be extremely painful and may require medical attention. In some cases, spider bites can lead to secondary infections that can be life-threatening. If you think you have been bitten by a brown recluse spider, it is important to seek medical help immediately. 


Southern Black Widow Spider

The Southern black widow spider is a species of true widow spider. True widow spiders are so named because they are known to kill and consume their mates. Southern black widow spiders are found in the southeastern United States and North America, including Ohio. 

Female Southern black widows are easily recognizable thanks to their glossy black bodies and distinctive red, hourglass-shaped marking on their abdomens. Male Southern black widows are much smaller than females and are usually brown or gray in color with no red markings. 

Southern black widow spiders typically build their webs in dark, undisturbed places like hollow tree stumps, rodent burrows, piles of firewood, and even human dwellings like sheds and garages. If you’re doing some work in any of these places and you see a web, be sure to watch out for the spider that built it.

Southern black widow spiders can be dangerous to humans. While their venom is not powerful enough to kill an adult human, it can still cause serious illness. Symptoms of a Southern black widow bite include muscle cramps, nausea, sweating, seizures, and an increased heart rate. 

Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to serious illness from a Southern black widow bite because their immune systems are not as strong as those of healthy adults. If you believe you have been bitten by a Southern black widow spider, seek medical attention immediately. 


Kissing Bug 

The kissing bug is a type of insect that belongs to the Reduviidae family. These bugs are also sometimes referred to as triatomine bugs or assassin bugs. There are over 140 different species of kissing bugs, but the one that is most commonly found in Ohio is the Triatoma Sanguisuga.

Kissing bugs are small insects that measure between 8 and 15 mm in length. They have reddish-brown or black bodies with wide wingspans. Their long legs and claws make them good climbers, which helps them to access their preferred food source: human blood. 

Kissing bugs are most often found in rural areas, where they live in cracks and crevices around houses made of adobe, stone, or mud. They can also be found in chicken coops, animal burrows, and bird nests. If there are humans nearby, they may also enter houses in search of a meal. 

When a kissing bug bites a human, it injects a small amount of saliva into the wound. This saliva can contain a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease. 

Chagas disease is a serious condition that can be deadly if left untreated. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, body swelling, and difficulty breathing. The disease progresses slowly, and it may take years for symptoms to appear. By then, it is often too late for treatment to be effective. 

The best way to protect yourself from being bitten by a kissing bug is to avoid areas where they are commonly found (rural areas with poor housing conditions). If you must go into these areas, wear long pants and long sleeves to keep your skin covered. You should also use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors to keep bugs away from your face. 

Finally, remember to check your clothing and skin for any hitchhiking insects before coming indoors. 



Mosquitoes are small, flying insects that are found all over the world. In Ohio, they are most commonly found near bodies of water, such as lakes and rivers. Mosquitoes use their long mouthparts to pierce the skin and drink blood. This can transmit diseases from one person to another. Some of the diseases that mosquitoes can transmit include West Nile virus, Zika virus, and malaria. Symptoms of these diseases can range from mild to severe, and in some cases, they can be fatal.

Mosquito bites usually cause a red, itchy bump on the skin. If you are bitten by a mosquito, you should wash the area with soap and water. You can also apply a cool compress or calamine lotion to the bite to help reduce swelling and itchiness. If you have a severe reaction to a mosquito bite, you should see a doctor immediately.

To avoid being bitten by a mosquito, you should wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors. You should also use insect repellent that contains DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus. You should also avoid standing water, which is where mosquitoes lay their eggs. Finally, you should make sure that your doors and windows have screens so that mosquitoes cannot enter your home. 


Black Legged Ticks

Black legged ticks are small, dark-colored ticks that are often found in wooded areas throughout Ohio. These ticks can attach themselves to both humans and animals, and they can transmit a number of diseases, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tularemia. 

Lyme disease is the most common of these diseases, and it can cause a wide range of symptoms, including fever, chills, headache, joint pain, and fatigue. If left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to more serious problems, including heart problems and neurological problems.

The best way to avoid black legged ticks is to avoid areas where they are commonly found. If you must go into a wooded area, wear long pants and long sleeves to keep the ticks from getting onto your skin. You should also apply insect repellent to exposed skin. If you find a tick on your body, remove it carefully with tweezers. Do not crush the tick because this could release bacteria into your bloodstream. After removing the tick, wash the affected area with soap and water.

If you think you may have been bitten by a black legged tick, contact your doctor immediately. Lyme disease is best treated in its early stages, so it’s important to get checked out as soon as possible if you think you may have been exposed.Your doctor will likely perform a blood test to look for antibodies to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. If the test is positive, you will be started on antibiotics. 



Bugs may be small, but some of them can pack a mighty punch. From disease-carrying mosquitoes to venomous spiders, there are plenty of dangerous bugs in Ohio that can make life miserable—or even put it at risk.

By taking some simple precautions and being aware of the signs and symptoms of bug-borne illnesses, you can help keep yourself and your family safe from harm this summer.