Pest Controller
Maggie's spells are just fly!

When you think of Attack Animal, you'll probably think of something big and/or badass, such as wolves, or tigers, or even dragons. Some people, however, have a kick with using... a certain creepier kind of creature.

This trope is a Stock Superpower of pest manipulation (most common with insects, although rodents and arachnids and the like also count here). The pest in question could be from little tiny life-eating bugs to more gigantic ones the size of buildings. Those who have this ability will often be portrayed as creepy themselves - they may be wicked, but they may just as often be just a decent, if quirky, fellow. Expect The Swarm and Zerg Rush to be their standard tactic.

Sometimes the controller doesn't only control insects but is also made of them, in which case this overlaps with The Worm That Walks. They may also be Friend to Bugs (especially for the insects version), but not always.

Subtrope of The Minion Master and Attack Animal. Super Trope to Bee Bee Gun; bees are indeed among the most popular choice of insect, for many good reasons.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Get Backers has an entire race of this, the Kiryuudo race. They even have different "clans", where each clan control different type of bugs (one clan controls spiders, one clan controls butterflies, and so on). They're the Arch Enemy of the Maryuudo race, who controls more traditional beasts.
  • Lutecia Alpine from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S could control insects on muliple levels, even summon one as large as Kaiju monsters.
  • Shino and the Aburame clan from Naruto allow chakra bugs to live inside their bodies while giving them control over said bugs. They mainly used the bugs to subdue their opponent quickly by sucking their chakra off their body.
    • Another example is one of the Sound Four, Kidomaru, who can summon and control either a swarm of big spiders, or a Giant Spider.
  • The clone of Jean Henri Fabre in the Read or Die OVA can control bees and other bugs. The giant grasshopper he rides is mechanical, but the smaller bugs seem to be normal, organic insects.
  • The Taoist Shiki in Black Cat uses multiple insect-related attacks, such as with moths, bees, and he can even ride on a giant dragonfly.
  • Friesia from The Seven Deadly Sins has the ability to control swarms of bugs.
  • The Godhand member Conrad from Berserk is capable of using plague carrying rats.
  • Tommyrod from Toriko. For bonus disturbing points, he keeps the eggs of his insects inside his stomach and hatches them at will, vomiting them at the enemy. Yes, this includes even the enormous insectoid chimera abominations many times the size of a human.
  • Vigilante: My Hero Academia Illegals, the spin-off Prequel to the original My Hero Academia, gives us Kuin Hachisuka. Her Quirk allows her to control a swarm of special bees that nest behind her eyepatch. However, if even a single one of them is injured/killed, she will get hit by a backlash. They're also convenient for spreading the Trigger at large.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Comics. At one point in his superhero career Henry Pym went by the name Ant-Man and wore a helmet that could control ants. In the movie the helmet itself only facilitates breathing when shrunken. Ant commands are issued via a small device worn over the ear that translates thought waves into an olfactory signal the ants can act on.
  • Parodied with Squirrel Girl: she has the uncanny ability to control squirrels. It is actually rather powerful since she has defeated many super powered beings with it, most notably Doctor Doom.
  • The Movement: Jayden Revell aka the Mouse showed a closeness with rodents even as a baby, his parents were once horrified to find him sleeping soundly in his crib with rats. As he grew older, his learned to talk and control rats and mice.
  • The Batman villain Ratcatcher, who trains and controls rats.
  • PS238 has The Flea, who can talk to, see and hear through, and control insects. He's also extremely good at it. If he weren't Fun Personified he'd probably be absolutely terrifying.
  • In Red Robin the Council of Spiders member "Sac" is covered in spiders which he can effortlessly control by the thousands to bite people or lay eggs inside of them to use for control of their host. Eggs which he can control to hatch at anytime before having the resulting spiders eat their way out of their host en mass.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In PC Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath, a dozen or so of the students at Tentir, the military college, can "bind" animals. One (Gari) can control insects, another can control small rodents (mice and rats).
  • The The Pied Piper of Hamelin is renowned for his Magic Music to enthrall rats. So much so that many similar characters found in other works are usually homages to him.
  • Willard, in the original Ratman's Notebooks novel, the 1971 film entitled with his name, and the 2003 film remake, has a deep affinity for rats that he is able to command them to do his bidding. However, it is not total control as the rats tend to outright turn on him when they have a falling out with him.
  • In Thomas Disch's The Roaches the main character discovered that she possessed the ability to telepathically communicate with and command cockroaches. Let's just say that it turned out to be not so good of a thing in the end...
  • In one Homer Price story the town hires a pied piper type who uses a mechanical contraption to play the music in order to lead mice out of town. Homer and his friends decide to follow along and see what happens, but since Homer is Genre Savvy he has all the kids stuff cotton in their ears so they won't hear the music. Despite this, when the adults see the piper with a gaggle of kids following behind they fear the worst.
  • The Big Bad of The Spiral Labyrinth by Matthew Hughes has an army of insects at its command. Under its control, they can even take down attacking dragons.
  • In the Marla Mason series, Somerset—a former chief sorcerer of Felport—had the power to control hordes of rats and pigeons. Marla calls this "vermomancy".
  • Members of the Blue Ajah in The Wheel of Time are taught a technique to summon swarms of insects. They can even specify the type. While this potentially has lots of uses, in the books it's only seen used for pranks.
  • Worm is a Web Serial Novel centred around Taylor, a teenager who can psychically command invertebrates, such as insects, arachnids, and crustaceans. She has lots of fine control over them, to the point where she can summon them unconsciously to aid her when under stress. Uses for the power include making a costume out of spider silk and threatening people with brown recluse spiders.
  • The aptly-named Pest Control in Villains' Code, who can summon and control any species of insect, whether normal or meta, as long as he has studied them in at least some way. He has found some creative uses for regular insects, but with meta ones, he can do some real damage.

    Live Action TV 
  • Luna, the first Big Bad of the Chinese Pretty Cure Balala The Fairies, has the power to use insects, which come in handy in many tough problems.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Beezelbub is literally "Lord of the Flies" and is attributed the power to both summon and dismiss pestilence and disease.

  • The Magnus Archives features Jane Prentiss, who emerges as the Big Bad of season 1. She (or the being using her body) commands masses of strange silver worms which infest more people and thus kill or enslave them. It is hinted that she may also control be able to control ordinary insects, spiders and other creepy-crawlies.

  • BIONICLE. There is a Kraata with the Insect Control ability. By extension, Makuta have this power as well.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the both the Old and New World of Darkness game lines, many of the splats have powers that can allow them to control vermin. Vampires have the Animalism Discipline, werewolves and other shifters have Gifts, mages can use the Life Sphere, etc. Some of the splats even have a more intimate relationship with vermin, like the Nosferatu and Baali vampires, Ratkin wererats, Black Spiral Dancers werewolves, Fomors and Nephandi mages.
  • Drycha Hamadreth from Warhammer: Age of Sigmar is able to command the swarms of centipede-esque squirmling spites that nest in her body to attack her enemies. She can also play host to the ravenous, beetle-like flitterfury spites that will attack anything, friend or foe, on their mistresses command.
  • Druids and other spellcasters have long had access to spells that allow them to summon and direct swarms of insects and other pests in Dungeons & Dragons.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • The Powerpuff Girls episode "Insect Inside". The villain Roach Coach can control an army of cockroaches. Played with since Roach Coach is revealed to be a roach himself, controlling a robotic suit made to look like a man (the episode title is a bit of a give-away). His ability to control roaches has less to do with being a superpower, and more to do with being a charismatic leader.
  • Xiaolin Showdown has the Sheng Gong Wu, the Tongue of Saping, which allows the user to talk to insects and somewhat control them. Sometimes, it can work too well...
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: The fake monster in "When The Cicada Calls" is able to control cicadas and is covered in a swarm as their disguise.
  • Ben 10 "Side Effects": While redeveloping a dilapidated residential area, the workers run afoul of Clancy, homeless man who can control bugs who taken up residence in one of the buildings to be demolished. When the building is destroyed in a fight with Ben, he vows revenge. He then tries to causie a nuclear meltdown, planning to survive the blast with an armor made of cockroaches. He is eventually defeated after being frozen by heatblast (who was turned An Ice Person due to a cold) and his control over insects was disrupted by Max's homemade medicine. He later shows up as part of the Negative 10, somehow becoming an insect-human hybrid.
  • The Rat King from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tends to be depicted as having control over rats in some adaptations. In the first cartoon, he is initially capable of doing so via a flute ala The Pied Piper of Hamelin, and in later episodes he can do it psychically. In the 2003 and the 2012 cartoons, he is able to do so mentally from the start.
  • From an episode of Extreme Ghostbusters, there is the Piper, an homage to The Pied Piper of Hamelin, who is capable of controlling pesky ghosts via his music. Subverted however though since he is actually a ghost himself who was scamming people, and the pesky ghosts he was controlling were actually a part of him.
  • Confectioner Heinrich von Sugarbottom uses mind control juice injected via intelligent mosquitos to compel the local wildlife, including the visiting Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, to transplant cacao trees closer to his Incan temple cum Secret Base in the CDRR episode "Chocolate Chips."
  • Batman Beyond has Patrick Poundstone aka Ratboy from the episode, "Rats", who can control the giant rats that live below Gotham He is a Stalker With a Crush to Dana Tan, Terry's Love Interest and kidnaps her. When she rebuffs him, he orders his rats to kill her but Batman manages to save her. Other people were not so lucky.

     Real Life 
  • In the modern military, as of 2010, bees are trained and used to search for explosives. It is only as of 2010 because at that moment a few corporations started to understand how to create bee hotels for that purpose.
  • So-called "roborats" - laboratory rodents with implants that stimulate their brains' reward-centers to control their movements - have been developed for the purpose of exploring rubble of collapsed buildings after disasters. Equipped with remote cameras, such animals can probe through narrow crevices and scramble over debris to locate trapped survivors, guided by an operator/trainer like a living drone.