41 Bug Facts That Seem Like Sci-Fi (but They’re True)

Updated June 3, 2022
close up blue longhorn beetle
    close up blue longhorn beetle
    CFKam / Moment / Getty
    Used under Getty Images license

Did you know that there are approximately 200 million bugs for every human on Earth? That's around 10 quintillion bugs on the planet — and that's just insects! Keep reading for more arthropod and bug facts that seem like they must be science fiction, but are actually true.

Amazing Facts About Ants

Like all other insects, as well as all spiders and crustaceans, ants are arthropods. They are invertebrates who live in colonies made of three types of ants: one queen, some males and many female workers. Check out these amazing facts about ants.

  • When a queen ant dies, the colony can't survive for more than a few months because worker ants can't reproduce.
  • Ants can carry around 50 times their own weight, which is the equivalent of an average man who can carry something that weighs over 8,000 pounds.
  • Experts believe that there are one million ants per human on the planet.
  • Some ants are able to clone themselves rather than reproduce, resulting in all-female ant colonies.
  • Ants keep aphids in their nests and "milk" them for nourishment.

Bewildering Facts About Bees

If all you think about when you see a bee is its sting, you're missing an incredible creature! Take a look at these bee facts to learn more about the tiny honey makers.

close up honey bee
    close up honey bee
    Fanie Heymans / 500 px / Getty
    Used under Getty Images license
  • One-third of our food exists because of bee pollination.
  • The buzz of bees comes from beating their wings around 200 times per second and 11,400 times per minute.
  • One bee produces about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
  • The temperature inside a beehive is always around 93 degrees Fahrenheit, no matter what the weather is outside.
  • Bees teach each other how to make honey; it's not instinctual.
  • A drop of honey bee venom is more lethal than cobra venom (but it would take 19 stings per kilogram to kill a person).
  • Bees have a stomach for eating and another stomach for storing honey.

Crazy Facts About Caterpillars

Everyone loves a butterfly, but not many people think about the creatures before they sprout their wings. Read up on caterpillars and their crazy characteristics.

  • Caterpillars consume up to 25,000 times their weight.
  • Even though caterpillars have 12 eyes, they are practically blind.
  • Most of the legs on a caterpillar are fake (known as "prolegs") that help them grip surfaces. They only have 3 pairs of real legs that follow them into life as a butterfly.
  • Mexican "jumping beans" are actually caterpillars of bean moths that have been laid inside a seedpod.
  • Caterpillars can save toxins from dangerous plants in their bodies forever, making them taste bad to predators.

Captivating Facts About Centipedes

Many people know one fact about centipedes: they have 100 legs. But that's not true! Learn all about these quick and captivating arthropods.

  • Centipedes never have exactly 100 legs. They usually have somewhere between 30 and 300 legs, and always an odd amount.
  • House centipedes can run 1.3 feet per second.
  • If centipedes lose a leg to a predator, they can regrow it in their next molt.
  • The front legs of a centipede function as venomous fangs that paralyze their prey.
  • While most bugs live between a few days and a month, centipedes can live for a year or more (and sometimes up to five years).
  • Giant centipedes of Central and South America can grow to 10 inches long and feed on mice and frogs. Its bite has been known to sicken and even kill humans.

Creepy-Crawly Facts About Cockroaches

You may shudder when you see a cockroach, but there's a lot you may not know about the hard-shelled creatures. Check out these creepy facts about scurrying cockroaches.

  • Only 10 of the 4,000 species of cockroaches live near humans.
  • Cockroach fossils from over 400 million years ago are extremely similar to modern-day cockroaches, meaning that the cockroaches you see today are very closely related to cockroaches that walked with dinosaurs.
  • Roaches will eat literally anything.
  • A cockroach can live up to a week without a head.
  • It's hard to kill cockroaches because they can run three miles an hour, hold their breath for up to 40 minutes and live for nearly a month without food.
  • Cockroaches have wings, but they can run much faster than they can fly.

Strange Facts About Spiders

Don't squish that spider! Spiders do a lot more than look scary to humans. Read up on the talents and characteristics of spiders.

close up jumping spider
    close up jumping spider
    xbn83 / Moment / Getty
    Used under Getty Images license
  • Some spiders can see spectrums of light that humans can't see, including UVA and UVB light.
  • Arachnids do not have wings, but jumping spiders can jump up to 50 times their own length.
  • A strand of spider silk is five times thicker than a strand of steel at the same thickness. Some scientists believe that if a spider were as large as a human, its web could stop an airplane.
  • Spider silk is actually a liquid. It hardens when it touches the air.
  • Some spiders have evolved to look like ants to both hide from predators and to better hunt ants.
  • You are almost never more than 10 feet away from a spider.
  • If spiders disappeared, there would be mass famine around the world due to crop destruction from insects.

Other Unbelievable Bug Facts

You may have heard more myths about bugs that aren't necessarily true. Take a look at these facts about other bugs to test your invertebrate knowledge.

  • Contrary to popular belief, earwigs do not live in the ears of humans.
  • Scientists believe that millipedes were one of the first animals to move from water to land and to breathe air over 425 million years ago.
  • Pillbugs (or "rollie-pollies") are not actually insects. They are crustaceans, just like lobsters and shrimp, and the only crustaceans to completely live on land.
  • Every cricket has its own distinctive song, which it uses to attract mates and defend territory.
  • Mosquitoes are the deadliest animal on Earth due to the diseases they spread, killing nearly 1 million humans a year.

The Astounding Animal Kingdom

Bugs may look like tiny monsters, but they are an important part of every ecosystem. We depend on them to pollinate our agriculture and eat other pests, and larger animals depend on them as a vital source of food. Learn about another creature that is actually less scary than it looks and sounds with vampire squid facts. Then, check out these weird animal facts for curious minds if you'd like to learn more about the animal kingdom. Finish with a laugh by reading some dino-mite dinosaur puns.