Former Empire State University (ESU) senior entomology professor Buck Mitty is an eccentric scientist and inventor with an unusual fondness for insects. When the ESU regents cut off his funding to validate his thesis that “insects are our friends”, Mitty turned to crime to continue his research. Wearing an amateur costume with gadgetry capable of various tricks via the amplification of insect noises, he tried to rob an armored car. Spider-Man foiled the bumbling attempt, forcing Humbug to turn his weaponry upon himself. Humbug was arrested, but the judge commuted his sentence to “time served”.
Mitty immediately resumed his inept criminal tendencies, targeting ESU directly by stealing rare paintings on loan to the Art Department. When the attempt failed, he shifted sights to expensive super conductive ceramics in the Physics Building. Spider-Man captured Humbug after threatening a cruel end to a jar full of roaches. Humbug returned once again to harass the ESU faculty; this time, the obnoxious mercenary Deadpool was hired to kill the troublesome professor. Humbug deafened Deadpool with a hemorrhage around his ear drum, but the mercenary retaliated, covering Humbug with honey and South American fire ants. Humbug was left for dead, apparently eaten alive. While the outer layer of skin was being consumed, Humbug communicated with the ants, brokering a deal to exchange his life for a few younger and tastier victims. After Humbug kept his part of the bargain, Rodney, the leader of the fire ants, decided to stay with Humbug. Teaming with villains 8-Ball, Freezer Burn, and Whirlwind, Humbug robbed the wealthy publisher Ricadonna, unaware that she was an emerging crime-lord and that they stole a microchip with a computer virus that could destabilize the world economy. Unable to sell the stolen goods and with each of his colleagues murdered, Humbug turned himself over to bounty hunter Misty Knight. Ricadonna attacked Misty, severing her bionic arm holding the chip. Humbug summoned a massive swarm of insects against Ricadonna, who fled with the chip. The fact Ricadonna had the chip back in her possession saved Humbug from the wrath of the Mad Juggler.
After using his bug network to locate Ricadonna’s auction for the microchip, Misty's partner Colleen Wing had Humbug arrested again. Most recently, Humbug has turned over a new leaf and is using his abilities for good, having joined the Heroes for Hire. During his time on the team, Ricadonna escaped from prison and hired Insecticide to put an end to Humbug's life. He also met Captain America, fought solo against the Headmen - which didn't end up in his favor - and traveled to the Savage Land where he was given power beyond his wildest dreams by the bug colony there. Unfortunately, the power disillusioned Humbug, and his alliances changed. Upon returning to New York, the Hulk had waged a war against the planet, and two of his Warbound - Miek and Brood - were about to begin a hive on Earth. Overcome by Brood's charm, Humbug decided to act as a vessel for her children and betrayed the Heroes for Hire. The bug colony of Earth didn't want Brood's offspring to hatch, and they chose Humbug knowing he would be incapable of bringing them full term. The foreign bodies within him were being poisoned and slowly and painfully killing Humbug. For betraying his friends and threatening their lives, an angry Shang-Chi granted Humbug his wish and ended his suffering by snapping his head off his body.