Ladybugs are known to everyone because they are bright red, and they are important in your garden. They help control plant-eating pests, and they have built-in abilities to protect themselves. There are more than 6,000 species of ladybugs across the world, and they all have the ability to emit an odor to protect themselves.
Ladybugs are not poisonous to humans. That said, they do have some ability to poison small animals, such as lizards and birds. When they are threatened, they release a foul scent that lets other animals know that they can defend themselves. They have special glands in their feet that release pyrazine, and their bright colors warn predators that they aren’t good to eat.
This article looks at how ladybugs protect themselves and whether they are poisonous to people or other animals.
Related: Are Potato Bugs (Jerusalem Crickets) Poisonous?
Are Ladybugs Poisonous to Dogs or Cats?
Fortunately, ladybugs are not poisonous to dogs or to cats. The only time you might have a problem is if the ladybugs have been sprayed with pesticides. Dogs and cats often enjoy chasing bugs and eating them, and they are attracted by the ladybug’s bright colors. They can be harmed by the pesticides if they eat them.
When they do eat the ladybugs, especially if they eat a bunch of them, they can also find the taste bitter, and it will cause them to have an upset stomach. In fact, your dog can get chemical burns inside its stomach because the ladybugs will release the toxins as they are eaten. You might also find lesions in the dog’s mouth. This doesn’t usually happen because ladybugs don’t taste good, and they will rarely eat more than one.
Are Ladybugs Poisonous to Livestock?
Ladybugs are not poisonous to horses, to goats, to deer, or to chickens. If horses or goats are eating a plant with ladybugs on it, it won’t cause them any harm. Chickens will eat ladybugs some of the time, and they are fine. However, many chicken owners find that chickens aren’t too interested in them.
Most animals aren’t interested in eating ladybugs because they recognize the warning sign in the bright colors and the odor of the toxic substance they release. The only animal that doesn’t react to the horrible taste and smell of ladybugs is the toad, so this is the main predator for ladybugs.
Toads catch them with their long tongues, and they sit and wait until they see one close enough before they grab it. There are some insects that are predators for ladybugs, such as mosquitoes, flies, and caterpillars. They all have beaks that are long and can inject poison into them. In addition, spiders are predators to ladybugs. They trap them in webs, and then they paralyze them and wrap them up for food when they need it.
Do Ladybugs Bite?
It surprises most people to find out that ladybugs can bite. They don’t want to bite, so it is rare that they bite people. However, if they do, they release their poison into the skin when they bite, which leaves behind a bad odor.
Ladybugs don’t have teeth. They have mandibles, which are mouth parts that can chew. They don’t have saliva or poison glands, so the bite doesn’t lead to any irritation or rash. They can rarely bite through the skin, so the most they do is leave behind a red bump that could hurt or be uncomfortable.
The only exception is for people who have an allergic reaction. If you have an allergic reaction, you might see swelling. In this case, you should seek medical attention as you would with any allergic reaction. The Asian Lady Beetle is the species that usually bites, and they bite harder when they can’t find food.
How Do Ladybugs Affect People and Animals?
Ladybugs are actually considered to be beneficial to people. They feed on aphids and other pests that can harm the plants in your garden. They will leave their eggs near an aphid colony to ensure that the hatchlings have all the food they need.
Ladybugs don’t carry diseases, and they aren’t aggressive. However, they will come into your home over the winter when they hibernate. Sometimes, they will leave yellow stains in the places where they hibernate before they die. They also might burrow in the wood of your home, which can damage the structure. The good news is that they won’t harm clothing or other items in your house. If you want them to stay out, you just need to use some caulk to close up any points of entry.
Ladybugs are great in the garden. They feed on pests to help protect your plants. There are two species that can eat plants, including the Asian Lady Beetle and the Epilachninae.
Ladybugs can be dangerous to their own species. If there aren’t a lot of aphids around, the ladybugs won’t have enough food. They will actually eat other ladybugs if they need to. They will also eat unhatched eggs if they are hungry.
Does the Color of the Ladybug Tell You If It’s More Poisonous?
The color of a ladybug depends on different factors, such as diet, species, and the region where it lives. The colors help ladybugs warn predators that they are poisonous and allow them to camouflage themselves in brightly colored flowers.
Researchers have looked at different colored ladybugs to see if they are more poisonous depending on color. They found that black ladybugs with small red spots, or pine ladybirds, are one of the most toxic species, and they can cause allergic reactions. Brown ladybugs are larch ladybugs, and they are the least poisonous as they rely more on their ability to camouflage.
Orange ladybugs are usually Asian lady beetles, and they have the most toxins in their bodies. They can cause an allergic reaction. Red ladybugs are usually predatory and can defend themselves. They are less poisonous than the orange variety.
Although ladybugs are not poisonous to people, it is important to watch for signs of an allergic reaction, as you will want to seek medical attention.