Ten Disease-Carrying Bugs That Cure Diseases

Flies

Flies

Maybe not as bad as roaches or mice, but nobody wants flies buzzing around their food. They can carry disease, lay maggots, and are just irritating. But you may want to pay attention if flies keep buzzing in your ear. See, flies, mosquitos, and other buzzing bugs can smell humans, and it turns out, fruit flies may be able to smell cancer.

Beetles

Beetles

More recently, researchers have used a blistering agent, cantharidin, found in beetles in medicines. In 1962 cantharidin was up for FDA approval but was denied due to a lack of data. Still, cantharidin, naturally found in certain species of beetles and hard to replicate, has been used by dermatologists to treat warts and other skin afflictions

Worms

Worms

Too small to be considered snakes, but just as off-putting to some, even worms can save your life. For starters, worms have been found to be a valuable source of nutrients. Earthworms contain fats, free aminos, high levels of protein, and essential vitamins like iron and calcium.

Termites

Termites

n Western medicine, scientists have been able to extract potent antimicrobial substances from termites. Scientists argue that these extracts could fight against viruses and bacteria that may be immune to other antibiotics. And all over the world, people munch on the maybe-not-so-delicious but highly nutritious termites as they are a potent source of protein.

Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers

Unlike the other bugs mentioned here, grasshoppers and other large hopping bugs of the sort—think crickets, locusts, and katydids—usually aren’t cause for much fanfare. But believe it or not, grasshoppers are a serious superfood! Allegedly with a taste similar to shrimp (will need someone to verify this ’cause eww), grasshoppers are high in protein and fat and have more antioxidants than fresh orange juice.

Ants

Ants

An entire Listverse article can probably be written about ants as they’re the stuff of legends: smaller, stronger, and much more plentiful than most other insects. When we talk about eating bugs for health benefits, ants are usually one of the first bugs that come to mind. But did you know that the health benefits of ants are so great that they’ve even been used to flavor alcohol to use as a medicine? Ant schnapps, anyone? No? That’s okay.

Leeches

Leeches

We’ve already discussed worms, so now it’s time for their muscular parasitic cousin, leeches. You’ve seen them in movies—a character walks into a body of water and emerges with a fat blackish-red thing stuck to their face or dangling from their arm. But outside of cliché movie scares, leeches are so useful that leech therapy is still widely used in modern medicine.

Spiders

Spiders

Loved by some, hated by others. If they’re not catching other pests, spiders usually get a bad reputation for being more harmful than helpful. Which makes sense—they’re poisonous after all, right? Well, sure, but in most places—North America, for example—spider venom has evolved, so it’s most effective on the itty bitty bugs they prey on and not so effective on large mammals.

Maggots

Maggots

We already talked about their buzzing parents, but maggots get a section all to themselves. At some point, you may have hiked past a rotten animal carcass filled with millions of soon-to-be flies. Rotting flesh is a maggot’s favorite meal! A fly with a life span of 30 days will lay between 500 and 2000 eggs, about 20-70 eggs per day.

Bees

Bees

Bees are the bees’ knees when it comes to life-saving insects: the queen bee, if you will. Their benefits are far-reaching, from the unending benefits of honey (seriously, honey does everything!) to the benefits of bee venom to bees literally pollinating plants to keep humans alive. Bees are a necessary, often overlooked, part of human life and a useful part of modern medicine.