One of the bigger insects in Thailand that is slightly less friendly is the Asian Giant Hornet. This invasive species of hornet can grow up to 45mm long with a 75mm wingspan. They are found mostly in jungles and forests where they inhabit holes in trees and borrows left by other animals. Asian giant hornets hunt other medium and large insect species to survive, including bees, mantises and other species of hornet. The Asian giant hornet can grow a sting of up to 6mm long which can inject a strong venom and can cause death in extreme cases. Thankfully however these hornets are not commonly found in built up areas, so you should be fine to chill by the pool.
Insects are the most successful animals in the world. They have been around for over 400 million years, and the insect population is estimated to be over 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 worldwide at any time. Of course Thailand is no exception. There are approximately 70,000 different species of insect in Thailand alone.
Generally insects in Thailand will not bother people any more than they would anywhere else in the world. So for those of you who are a bit squeamish when it comes to creepy crawlies, relax, you will be fine. The most common (and the most annoying) insects you will come across on your Thailand travels will most likely be mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes have been around for over 400 million years. Thailand itself does not have a particularly bad mosquito infestation, however it is a tropical country. Therefore it is home to mosquitoes by default. Mostly they will be most active in the early mornings and during evenings when it is cooler. In the day time they are not usually a problem, unless you are visiting cool, damp areas with no breeze. What most people don’t realise about mosquitoes is that it is only the females that bite. This is because they need the extra proteins and irons they get from sucking blood to produce eggs. Male mosquitoes survive purely on a diet of nectar. It is easy to reduce the risk of getting bitten by mosquitoes with just a few simple actions;
- Use over the counter insect repellent, these are cheap and easy to find in Thailand.
- Wear light coloured clothing, dark colours absorb more heat and attract more mosquitoes.
- Avoid perfumes and fragrant body sprays.
- Use a fan or aircon while sleeping, mosquitoes can only fly at 1-2kmph, so even a light breeze can stop them.
Another insect you may run into during your trip to Thailand is the Jewel Beetle. There are over 300 different species of jewel beetle in Thailand. They can grow between 3-10cm long, with bullet shaped bodies and are easily recognised by their vivid, iridescent colours. The wings of these beetles have traditionally been used in jewelry, clothing and art for many years. To this day designers and collectors will pay a lot of money for these beetles. In addition to their beautiful and decorative wings, these beetles are considered a delicacy in several parts of Thailand and Malaysia where they are fried and served in several restaurants.
One of the largest insects you might come across in Thailand is the Atlas Moth. Atlas Moths are among the biggest moths in the world, with a wingspan of up to 30cm. The front tip of each wing is shaped to resemble a snake’s head. This resemblance is exaggerated by wing movements when faced with a predator.
Although they have such large wings, they have disportionately small bodies and they very rarely fly. Atlas moths have no mouth so are therefore unable to feed. They instead rely solely on ft reserves left over from their time as a caterpillar. Every flight they attempt uses massive amounts of energy and can reduce their already short lifespan (1-2 weeks) by several days.