Ladybugs or lady beetles are instantly recognizable by their distinctive black spots and red coloring. They are voracious eaters of aphids and other plant-consuming insects making the small beetles welcome in gardens.
While ladybugs are beneficial in many ways, some people wonder if the bright red and black-spotted insects are dangerous or harmful at all. More specifically, do ladybugs bite?
In this article we’ll answer that very question. So without further delay, let’s get to it!
Do Ladybugs bite?
Ladybugs are colorful beetles often associated with good luck. These small insects can bite people, but they usually prefer not to. Instead, they are more likely to release a foul-smelling liquid that resembles blood.
When a ladybug does bite, it’s with their sharp pincer-like parts in their mouth. The insect will leave a small welt behind that typically disappears after a couple of days. Having said that, ladybugs are not considered dangerous to humans.
Do Ladybugs have teeth?
The reason ladybugs eat soft-bodied insects is due to their lack of teeth. However, the beetles do have mandibles for chewing. It’s these sharp mouth parts that allow the bugs to occasionally bite humans.
Can Ladybugs sting?
Ladybugs do not have stingers so they can’t sting. They do have other defensive mechanisms that include “playing dead” and releasing a noxious smelling liquid. They can also use their mandibles to inflict a small bite.
Can Ladybugs pinch you?
The small beetles do use their back legs to pinch natural enemies, prey, and occasionally humans. A pinch from a ladybug will leave a mark. It also feels the same as any other time your skin is pinched. A small red welt may be left behind but the irritating feeling quickly goes away.
Are Ladybugs venomous?
A ladybug bite doesn’t inject any type of venom. They don’t release any toxins but the small bite is irritating and will leave a raised spot. Some people may have an allergic reaction to a ladybug bite. It’s not life-threatening but the bitten area may be painful and more swollen. The irritation does go away after a few days.
I mentioned that Ladybugs can bite or pinch you. They can also secrete a foul-smelling liquid when threatened. While the bites and pinches can be irritating and temporarily painful, the beetles are not poisonous.
They also do not spread disease like some other biting insects.
Are Ladybugs Poisonous to Eat?
This is really the same answer as above, but just to clarify: Anyone that accidentally swallows or decides to eat a ladybug will not be poisoned. However, you will notice an unpleasant taste.
Even though, it’s not poisonous ladybugs do have an odor that is part of their natural defense. The taste combined with their red coloring reminds potential predators that the beetles have an unpleasant taste.
Are Ladybugs Poisonous to Dogs or Cats?
Ladybugs actually are poisonous to dogs and cats, in particular the Asian lady beetle. Pets, especially larger dogs do need to eat a lot of the small beetles before a trip to the vet is needed. Asian lady beetles can cause chemical burns in animals’ mouths and digestive tracts. Dogs and cats may also experience vomiting and diarrhea after eating ladybugs.