Beardies First

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Spotted Lanternflies?

Feeding your bearded dragon with only the right food is critical for its optimal health and safety. Since reptiles are known to feed on insects, you are probably wondering about the ones that your beardie can eat. Can bearded dragons eat spotted lanternflies?

can bearded dragons eat spotted lanternflies

Unfortunately, there is no sufficient information about spotted lanternflies that will help you determine whether or not these insects are toxic to your bearded dragon. Due to this lack of information, it would be best for you to avoid feeding it to your pet and treat these insects as toxic to err on the side of caution.

Since it seems that milkweed is bad for these insects, planting milkweed around the house might help control the presence of spotted lanternflies a bit.

What are Spotted Lanternflies?

Spotted lanternflies are native to India, Vietnam, and China. These insects are half an inch wide and an inch long. They have gray forewings with black spots, although these insects are more notable for their bright red hindwings with black spots covering them.

Spotted lanternflies are regarded as invasive species and are found in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland New York, and Pennsylvania, as well as other eastern US states. These insects live on a variety of sap-containing plants and trees.

After they consume the sap of a tree, spotted lanternflies produce a liquid known as honeydew. It is a dangerous liquid since it tends to attract other types of destructive insects while weakening the defenses of a tree against disease and mold. Sadly, a large number of lanternflies can kill an entire crop of fruit trees.

What are the Common Predators of Spotted Lanternflies?

Spotted lanternflies don’t have a lot of natural predators. This is the reason why they tend to multiply fast and pose a serious threat to fruit tree crops. In addition, the bright red color on the hindwings of these insects serves as a warning signal of its potential as a poison to predators.

This keeps the bug protected from some threats. But still, a few predators may feed on these hopping insects, including the following:

Chickens

Chickens have long been known to feed on different types of insects, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if spotted lanternflies are also part of their menu. A large chicken can swallow an entire lanternfly in just one gulp.

Garden Spiders

Spotted lanternflies and garden spiders share the same habitat. This makes garden spiders among the top predators of spotted lanternflies, catching them in their web.

Garter Snakes

Garter snakes feed on various animals such as small fish, small rodents, and insects, and are also known to eat spotted lanternflies.

Gray Catbirds

Gray catbirds live in trees, thickets, and meadows. They feed on different types of small fruits, berries, and insects, including spotted lanternflies.

Koi

Koi is another predator of spotted lanternflies. While they often feed on store-bought food, they also feed on insects, gobbling them in just a few seconds.

Praying Mantis

Spotted lanternflies also live in the same spots as praying mantises. A lanternfly feeding on a sap’s plant won’t probably notice a praying mantis hanging or sitting on a nearby leaf.

Wheel Bugs

Meadows, gardens, and trees are the common habitats of wheel bugs. They feed on beetles, caterpillars, and other insects. These large insects can capture a spotted lanternfly with powerful front legs, holding the squirming body until it dies.

Yellow Jackets

Vegetation with sap and nectar attracts yellow jackets. They move around the same habitat as the spotted lanternflies. Yellow jackets sting spotted lanternflies with venom that immobilize them.

How to Feed Wild-Caught Insects to Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons in the wild love munching on all kinds of insect prey. Even when raised in captivity, they will also love and appreciate it if their diet includes an assortment of insects.

Many owners of bearded dragons often consider catching insects on their own to add a variety to the regular diet of their pet and help save some cash along the way. But while a lot of people do it, this is a practice that should be done selectively.

Below are some pointers to remember when feeding wild-caught insects to your bearded dragon:

  • If you let your beardie roam around outside, be extra mindful of insects that it might find. The last thing you want is for your pet to accidentally eat an insect that you don’t want it to eat. Don’t forget that these reptiles will go after an insect once it sees one.
  • See to it that any wild-caught insect is free from chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides before you feed it to your dragon. Such chemicals are often sprayed on crops that can cling to the insects’ bodies. When your bearded dragon ingests it, it can make your pet sick, or worse, it may even lead to death.
  • Avoid feeding your bearded dragon with an insect that you are not even sure is safe for your pet to eat. Never go outside and grab any bug you see and feed it to your beardie.
  • Don’t feed your bearded dragon too many wild-caught insects since it might acquire a taste for that specific insect. As a result, your pet might just want to eat that specific insect. The moment your supply runs out, your dragon might refuse to eat anything else that can lead to starvation and death.
  • If you have plans to feed wild-caught insects to your bearded dragon, it will be a wise idea to keep them inside a cricket keeper or the like for several days. You can also gut load the insects to increase their nutritional value and offer your pet better nutritional content.

Bad Insects for Bearded Dragons

Several insects should never be given to bearded dragons at all costs. These insects are vicious, toxic, and can be extremely harmful to give to your pet:

  • Ants
  • Bees, hornets, wasps
  • Centipedes
  • Fireflies
  • Scorpions
  • Lubber grasshoppers
  • Some caterpillars

When unsure about feeding wild insects to your bearded dragon, just use the insect feeders you can find in pet stores or from reliable online dealers.