Spiders, wasps or cockroaches – what is Britain’s most disliked creepy-crawly?

Eir NolsoeData Journalist
June 04, 2021, 1:10 PM UTC

Women are more likely to say they dislike spiders the most, while a higher share of men say wasps are the worst

We’ve heard it all before: spiders are more scared of humans than the other way around, they *really* aren’t trying to kill you, and we should all just be grateful for our “small” and “harmless” British spiders.

But it doesn’t do much to help public opinion of them. New YouGov data shows that our eight-legged cohabitants top the list as Britain’s most disliked creepy-crawly, with one in five people (22%) listing them as the minibeast they have the strongest negative feelings towards.

It’s a close race, however. Another fifth of Britons (19%) dislike wasps the most, while about the same number of people (18%) have similar feelings about cockroaches. 

Spiders are Britain's most disliked creepy-crawly

While mosquitos cause more human deaths than any other animal group, they don’t quite attract the same level of public dismay as spiders, wasps and cockroaches. But at 11%, they still come fourth as Britain’s most disliked pest.

Flies (4%), earwigs (4%) and moths (3%) make for more niche choices. The list of creatures was drawn up from an open question on a previous survey asking people to write in their least favourite minibeast. The top 10 most commonly mentioned wrigglers were selected for this question.

Women hate spiders, men hate wasps

One in four women (26%) dislike spiders the most of any insect, bug or creepy-crawly, compared with one in six men (17%). Meanwhile, the most popular answer among men is wasps at 21%. Around one in six women (16%) share their opinion.  

Men are also slightly more likely than women to say mosquitos are top of their list at 13% vs 9%.

However, men are more than twice as likely as women to insist they don’t dislike any of the insects, bugs and creepy-crawlies included in the survey, with one in eight (12%) saying this is the case, compared with one in twenty women (5%).

There is also some divide across age groups. Among younger Britons aged 18 to 34, 30-31% say spiders are the miniature monstrosities they hate the most, compared with only 13% of Britons aged 65+.

The most common answer among older Britons is cockroaches, at 23%, compared to only 10% of 18-24 year olds.

See the full results here