It’s the time of year when our homes are invaded by those small orange & black beetles. It can be hard to differentiate between the nine-spotted Ladybug species (known as C9) and the Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis). Whether they are Ladybugs or Asian beetles, both species are from a family of lady beetles called Coccinellidae. Though rare, some inquisitive puppies or curious cats may ingest them. Will eating them harm our pets?
Are they toxic?
Both species that we have in our area are not toxic. However, they produce a liquid foul-smelling, terrible tasting secretion as a defense mechanism to discourage preying animals. When ingested, the hard exoskeleton can cause ulcers in the mouth and GI system and secondary GI upset.
The bodies of the beetles irritate oral tissues or cause ulcers inside the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines. This can cause drooling and loss of appetite from pain or the awful taste. The taste and/or smell could cause nausea and vomiting. All of this can eventually lead to some diarrhea, possible with a little blood in it.
In rare cases, the beetle bodies stuck in the roof of the mouth need to be removed. Depending on the patient’s cooperation, they may need sedation for this procedure. Depending on the severity, treatment may involve supportive care to prevent ulcers, anti-nausea medication, and anti-diarrheal medications.
Obviously, preventing the patient from eating the beetles is crucial. Removing the pests from your household can be challenging, consulting an exterminator may be necessary. Whether doing it yourself or hiring an exterminator, make sure to use chemicals that aren’t toxic to pets or remove your pets for the suggested amount of time to ensure safety. Discouraging your pets from eating any insects is always recommended.