A Fun-Loving Guide to the Natural World for Kids and Adults

Ladybeetles for Dinner

Spoiler Alert: During this post, you will witness Kenton attempting to eat a handful of Asian Lady Beetles.  For those of you who are already feeling sorry for the beetles, rest assured that in the end, they all survive the ordeal.

We have a lot of Asian Lady Beetles in our house.  A lot.  People consider them a terrible nuisance, since they tend to swarm by the hundreds over your windows, fly into your drink, and occasionally dive-bomb you for the apparent sole purpose of landing on your arm and biting you.  Apart from that, they’re pretty neat.  They have more color variation than any other lady beetle species, and I’ve seen specimens on our windows that range from pale orange to pitch black.  Most are somewhere in between, and sport a handsome array of spots.  Plus, they have a way-cool chemical defense, which involves oozing a noxious yellow liquid from between their leg joints.  I wish I could do that.

Now, for those of you who don’t yet know me, I have a reputation to uphold.  As a genuine feral human, I’m supposed to be able to do things like get thrown naked into the snow and be found the next day in a burrow wearing clothes I’ve woven out of last year’s nettle stalks.  So it shouldn’t be an issue to eat a couple of lady beetles, right?

It’s not that I have an aversion to eating bugs.  It all began with a grasshopper, probably a Melanoplus borealis borealis, when I was only a young boy.  I captured it, stuck it alive into my mouth, and crunched.  I swore it tasted like chocolate.

But the Asian Lady Beetles are different.  They have flown into my mouth before, exuded their yellow potion of yuck, and sent me gagging.  So I knew I was in for a challenge.  Here it goes . . .

Needless to say, I spit them all out and they flew off to tell their friends about their big adventure.

Asian Lady Beetles aren’t the only insects with chemical defenses.  A lot of insects possess these sorts of juices to ward off predators.  One of the most famous is the Bombardier Beetle.

You can see it in action here:

The Bombardier Beetle’s chemical defense is boiling hot.  How vicious is that?   I’m just glad I didn’t try to eat one of them!

3 Responses to “Ladybeetles for Dinner”

  1. I can’t believe you did that. The shots are just too funny. Mouthwash?

  2. I was wondering what that brown stuff grasshoppers spit out tasted like. Now I know it’s chocolate. Funny, Ella and I caught a grasshopper at the nature preserve today. It started hawking up a chocolate loogie for us.

  3. Ha! Well, um, I don’t know if we’d actually guarantee it is chocolate flavor, but hey, maybe it’s worth trying! =)

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