The other day a ladybug landed in my parrot’s food bowl, and before I could get it to go away, my parrot ate it.
So then I needed to figure out, are ladybugs poisonous to parrots?
If your parrot ingests one or even two ladybugs, they should be fine; you just need to monitor them. Ladybugs only have the potential to be poisonous to parrots in large doses, but chances are once a parrot tastes one, they will spit it out or not eat another one since ladybugs taste bad. Ladybugs secrete a foul yellow fluid (reflex blood) from their leg joints when they feel threatened, and it acts as a deterrent to birds and lizards who might be interested in eating them.
A ladybug’s bright coloring also acts as a warning against predators who think they look like a tasty treat.
Lastly, some ladybugs have mandibles that they can ‘bite’ with, although there are no venom glands in these parts, meaning they are not poisonous.
In this article, we will not only explore if ladybugs are poisonous to parrots, but we will also identify which color ladybugs are the most dangerous, what to do if your parrot eats one, and how to get rid of a ladybug infestation.
Which color ladybugs are the most dangerous?
With over 6,000 different types of ladybugs, the rule of thumb is that the brighter they are, the more potentially poisonous they are.
Orange ladybugs have the most toxins in their bodies, and therefore are the most dangerous or most liable to cause allergic reactions to mammals and birds.
The next toxic are black ladybugs, followed by red ladybugs.
Red ladybugs are typically able to defend themselves since red is a deterrent for large predators, including birds.
Finally, brown ladybugs are the least toxic species and usually rely on camouflage for protection from predators.
The ‘poison’ in ladybugs comes from the unpleasant-smelling reflex blood that is secreted when they feel threatened by a predator, and that is also what tastes so bad to those who eat it.
What do I do if my parrot eats a ladybug?
Assess how many ladybugs your parrot ate and what color it was; if it was only 1-2, there is no need to panic.
However, if you think it was more than just a few, monitor your parrot for any signs of discomfort or distress.
If anything drastically changes, such as their mood, habits, or if they become lethargic, alert your local veterinarian clinic immediately.
Remember, you know your pet better than anyone else, so even if your parrot only had a few ladybugs but you are worried, consult with your local vet.
Also, if you think the ladybug that your parrot ingested had pesticides or insecticides on it, we recommend bringing in your parrot for a professional assessment.
How do I get rid of ladybugs?
Since they secrete reflex blood when threatened, it is best not to crush a ladybug, especially if you may be allergic.
Instead, remove and relocate the ladybug to an area away from your parrot.
If you find ladybugs are attracted to your garden, consider removing the fennel, parsley, or other plants that attract ladybugs.
If it is a small ladybug problem, you can catch them using light traps inside your home; the bright light will attract the bugs, and then you can remove them.
For larger infestations, you can spray them with vinegar or use insecticides outside of your home. (Be sure to keep your parrot away from the sprayed areas.)
You can also put diatomaceous earth around the windows and the doors in your home, and the silica in the dirt will dry out and kill the ladybugs.
Lastly, you will want to dispose of any dead ladybugs you may find since they can send out pheromones that attract more ladybugs.
If the ladybug problem moves beyond your control, reach out to your local pest control company for further support.
How do I prevent ladybugs from entering my home?
Once you have the ladybug problem under control, you can do a few things to prevent them from re-entering your home.
Some people will use products with a heavy scent of lemon to try and deter ladybugs.
Other people plant mums and lavender outside their homes since they are known to deter ladybugs naturally.
(Lavender is ok for parrots, but the leaves and flowers of mums are poisonous, so be sure to keep your parrot away from the mums in particular.)
It would help if you also take care to seal all external cracks and install screens over roof vents or other open access points to the outside.
Sealing off their access, while also exterminating them and discarding their bodies, will break the cycle of their intrusion and keep your parrot safe from eating them.
It is also recommended to keep your parrot away from these traps and hunting measures as you address your ladybug problem.
Female ladybugs can store a male’s sperm for 2-3 months before laying eggs.
So that is why it is important to treat and re-treat your home, and keep your eye out for anymore ladybugs as time passes.
These are suggestions on how to control a ladybug infestation but remember if you are unsure, call your local pest control company for support.