Bug enthusiasts may wonder about many things, but a very unique question that we came across was – do ladybugs pee? We simply had to look into it! Here’s what we discovered.
Ladybugs have been a part of human lore for centuries – they are so popular, in fact, that they are embedded in children’s nursery rhymes!
Unfortunately, while we have all seen and admired these beetles in our gardens and parks, there is little that most people know about them.
For example, did you know that ladybugs don’t pee? Nope, these bugs release their liquid wastes through another means.
Some species of ladybugs, such as the Asian lady beetles, release a solid and sticky paste from the same place they poop. This might get confused with pee, but it’s not.
In this article, we will talk more about the peeing and pooping habits of these cute bugs.
Do Insects Pee?
We all know that mammals release their body’s waste products via urine. However, birds, insects, and reptiles don’t work in the same way.
Their bodies are designed to retain water through a process called osmoregulation. They do not pee; instead, they produce and eject uric acid from the same place where they poop.
However, that doesn’t mean that insects do not have separate digestive and endocrinal systems.
Most of their system works on the same principles as mammals, except they treat their waste differently than us.
The alimentary canal in their digestive tract allows insects to swallow food from the mouth. The food and water then pass through their digestive system and reaches their rectum.
There are three main parts of their digestive system: the foregut, midgut, and hindgut.
The first is for storing food, the second is to break down the enzymes, and the third is to retain essential nutrients and water.
It is in the third gut that their process is different from ours.
What Do They Do With Their Water?
Most insects acquire water through food (rather than drinking it). They do not want to lose it through urine, considering how important it is for their bodies.
Here’s what happens:
In mammals, the kidney clears toxins from the blood via urine, but for insects, the waste goes back to the digestive organs.
Firstly, Malpighian tubules in the midgut take toxins out of their blood and send it into the digestive system along with food.
Any nutrients, sugar, salt, or water that are transported to the hindgut are then re-absorbed into their bodies, while the toxins and nitrogen gets converted into a powder or paste known as uric acid.
Since no water is emitted in this process, there is no peeing.
Instead, the remaining uric acid is ejected as a solid excrement, commonly known as frass. The frass may look different for different bugs, depending on what they eat.
Is The Yellow Secretion From Ladybugs Pee?
Many people mistake the yellow fluid secreted by many species of a ladybug as pee, which is not true.
Ladybugs release this smelly liquid when they feel threatened by an outside presence. It is a way for the lady beetle to warn the possible threat or dangers.
The above phenomenon is called reflexive bleeding. It happens when lady beetles rub their joints together in place of their gut.
The resulting liquid, called Hemolymph, or also ladybug’s blood, has an unpleasant odor, which gives a signal to the potential threat that this is how bad their dinner will taste if they choose to consume the bug.
Do Ladybugs Poop?
Yes, as already mentioned, ladybugs excrete their waste through poop.
Unfortunately, unlike bees and cockroaches, who avoid pooping indoors, ladybugs leave behind poop trails throughout their travel.
Humans should be aware of these tiny globs on their vegetables, fruits, doorway, window cracks, and other places ladybugs visit.
That’s the poop left behind by the beetles for you to clean up!
Moreover, ladybugs don’t mind feeding and pooping anywhere they find suitable without worrying about potential dangers. So even if they are pooping in the kitchen, they don’t care whether you are around or not.
How Do Ladybugs Digest Food?
It should be obvious that ladybugs have a digestive system that matches that capacity to eat.
However, the process they use for eating is different from insects like mosquitoes and butterflies, which suck food into their bodies.
Ladybugs chew food and swallow it through their mouth through the alimentary canal, into the digestive tract, and finally into their rectum.
In this sense, they are more like reptiles and birds. Hence their digestive system is also similar to these creatures if you leave out the urine part.
The digestive system of ladybugs is made of three important organs: the foregut, the midgut, and the hindgut. Let’s learn about them in detail below.
- The foregut is responsible for transporting food from the mouth to the digestive tract. The food is crushed into small pieces before reaching the second part of the canal.
- The midgut is the part responsible for breaking down the enzymes and digesting them.
- The hindgut extracts nutrients like salt, sugar, and water from food. It is where the body retains water from the waste material.
After all this, ladybugs excrete the remaining waste from their systems.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the yellow stuff that comes out of a ladybug?
The yellow fluid from a ladybug is known as Hemolymph or reflexive bleeding. It is released to repel a potential threat from eating the beetles.
It has an unpleasant odor that tells the predator that the creature they are about to eat might be toxic and should be avoided.
Is ladybug poop poisonous?
No, ladybug poop is not poisonous. Even if it were, ladybug poop globs are tiny and can have no effects on human beings.
That said, you should keep your home clean from ladybug poop. At the end of the day, it is toxic waste emitted from their bodies and is certainly not a good thing.
Can you keep a ladybug as a pet?
Yes, you can keep many species of ladybugs, including black ladybugs, blue ladybugs, or bright red colored ladybugs, as pets.
Unfortunately, these beetles do not survive very long in captivity, so it might be a better option to let them wander in your garden.
How can you tell if a ladybug is a boy or a girl?
While it is difficult to differentiate between a male and a female ladybug, the girl is usually larger than the boy.
However, it’s pretty hard to tell them apart unless you put a male and female next to each other and measure them.
So, we established that ladybugs don’t pee, and in fact, no insects pee. Bugs need water much more than us, and they have evolved a unique way to avoid losing water through urination.
However, ladybugs do poop, and their poop trails can be found almost anywhere. The poop is not toxic to us, but it is best to clean it up (because, at the end of the day, it is poop!)
Thank you for reading.