Ladybugs are fascinating creatures to study. There is much to learn about them. One thing I wanted to share about these insects was exactly what they consume as their diet. We already understand more about what Ladybugs eat, so mainly I want to focus here on what they drink and how much of it they actually need to survive.
So, what do ladybugs drink? Ladybugs do drink water as part of their diet. They usually get the required amount from moisture available in the food they eat. So they don’t always need to be near traditional sources of water for this purpose. But when food is scarce, or for additional hydration, they will drink water directly.
But you might be wondering how a ladybug actually drinks water. You might also wonder how you can feed one while looking after it or taking care of it as a pet in your home. All of these questions are answered below. So here’s everything you need to know about ladybugs and the liquids they drink.
How Ladybugs Drink
Speaking of the anatomy of a ladybug, it uses parts of its head to eat and drink just as any animal would do. The head includes the mouth through which it consumes food and drink.
As the Fig 1. above shows, similar to the way Ladybugs eat, the mandibles and Palps will reflex inward thereby drawing in small droplets of water into the labium (mouth). The Ladybug can also immerse it’s labium (mouth) in water without the need to stop breathing.
The head also includes the antenna through which the ladybug smells, tastes and feels its way around. Ladybugs don’t see as great as they smell, so the antenna becomes useful while looking for prey and drink.
For the full insight into all the parts of a Ladybug, see my article on The Anatomy of a Ladybug.
Methods of Giving a Drink to a Ladybug
If you are taking care of a ladybird by yourself then you need to feed it, it’s best to know how to do this properly. Let’s look at how you can give your ladybug water whilst making sure you’re not doing any harm to it at the same time.
One of the best ways to give ladybugs water is by using wet paper towels, cotton balls or small pieces of sponges. The ladybugs would be more than happy with the water they get from the moisture held in these.
(Note: If you happen to pick up a ladybug from your garden, make sure you’re as gentle with it as possible. It can be very easy to squash these little insects as they’re so delicate. Once you pick up or catch a ladybug, you can put the ladybug in a jar temporarily).
It’s true that you can feed the ladybug with other liquid food such as small amounts of honey, sugar, raisins, lettuce and other food in the house. by using a small bottle cap.
This should not be tried out when giving water to the ladybug, as it can drown in the water in the bottle cap – we’ll cover that more shortly. And do not leave water in any containers for too long, it will stagnate and become a breeding ground for bacteria, in so doing it will become undrinkable, so they simply won’t touch it.
Ladybugs also love to feed on nectar found in flowers and plants. (More on nectar below.)
(Note: Once the ladybug is taken care of and you’ve learned all you can from it, be sure to release it back to its natural home after 24 hours. If you don’t have any ladybugs in your garden read my article Will Ladybugs Stay in My Garden? How to Attract and Keep Them.
Now that you know how to feed water to a ladybug it’s also important to know how much water ladybugs need to survive on a daily basis.
How Much Ladybugs Drink
When giving the ladybug water or any kind of suitable drink, limit it to 2-3 drops a day.
Giving the right amount of food and drinks to a ladybug is important for its survival. Too little or too much might both cause harm to it.
If you’re planning to feed the ladybug with food, keep it to twice a day. This is enough for the ladybug to survive as it is a very small insect. You might think this to be very minimal, but it is actually enough for the ladybug to get going with its day.
Apart from water, what else do you think the ladybug drinks? Let’s read on to find out about this.
What Is in Nectar?
Nectar is a sugary liquid found in plants, especially in flowers. These are produced in glands called nectaries. In simple terms, nectar is a sugar solution which includes sucrose. Sucrose is a disaccharide, which ladybugs like.
Plants make nectar in order to aid pollination. The sugary taste of the nectar attracts insects to it, who in turn take it to other parts of the same plant and sometimes to different plants. Bees, moths, wasps, and ants are very popular in doing this task.
Ladybugs are also pollination agents. They feed on nectar from plants and help the pollination process. You can read more on this in my post named Are Ladybugs Pollinators?
Now you know that ladybugs need water to survive and that they also drink nectar which aids in the plant pollination process. Did it ever make you think that ladybugs can actually drown in water? Let’s understand more about this.
Can Ladybugs Drown?
Yes, ladybugs can drown in certain circumstances. This is why I’d recommend avoiding giving them water in wide containers where escaping from the vessel is difficult. They’re extremely tiny insects and can easily fall into the liquid and if there for a certain length of time or cannot get out then they can drown.
Place about 2 to 3 drops of water each day on the sponge, cotton ball or wet paper towel through which you are giving water to the ladybug. Make sure not to go overboard with the water.
If you see condensation on the sides of the vessel in which you’re keeping ladybugs in, then don’t add any more water until the condensation
Have you ever wondered if ladybugs can swim? If so, it would be useful for them to survive in case they fall into standing water or any kind of liquid. Ladybugs can swim
Ladybugs do drink water and they can get most of it from their normal diet. They don’t need to be near any traditional sources of water in order to get their daily intake of liquids. You can also give them water while taking care of them as pets. In which case you need to make sure you do it with utmost care while avoiding any harm to the ladybug.
Ladybugs do not need gallons of water to drink and will be happy with 2-3 drops per day. They also like to drink nectar from plants as it has a very sugary taste.
I hope you found this article useful in getting to know about ladybugs and their diet, including water as a main source of drink. Now you can tell all of your friends, or share this article and let them learn about it too. If I missed anything then please do share it in the comments below.
I’ve also collated all my favorite Ladybug related things and gifts in one place on my Ladybug Gifts and Resources Page, please do check it out.