Do Ladybugs Eat Strawberries

Do Ladybugs Eat Strawberries

Ladybugs or Coccinellidae represent five thousand unique species and range in size from 0.8 to 18 mm. These small beetles are found almost everywhere on earth except Antarctica and some deserts, and they’re beneficial to gardeners.

Many ladybugs eat aphids and other problem insects off of plants and are sometimes called a gardener’s best friends. Do ladybugs eat strawberries?

Ladybugs do eat strawberries because they enjoy the sweetness from their high sugar content. Ladybugs love to eat non-acidic fruits that contain a lot of sugar, and strawberries have a pH of 3.45 with .6 grams of sugar. Ladybugs main source of food consists of soft-bodied insects like aphids and strawberries are prone to aphid infestation as well.

Do Ladybugs Eat Strawberry Plants

Ladybugs love strawberry plants, but they don’t typically eat them. Strawberries are prone to aphid infestations, so they are a great source of dietary protein for these clever little beetles.

Since an adult ladybug can sometimes eat over 50 aphids per day, they are often found on strawberries. However, it’s a common misconception that they are there to eat the leaves or fruit. They are not.

Some ladybug species are herbivores and eat plants, but these are less common than their insect-eating red and black peers.

Moreover, most ladybugs will happily eat small amounts of fruits like strawberries, but they don’t tend to destroy gardens the way aphids and other bugs do.

As for the strawberries themselves, there’s some debate about whether they are healthy for ladybugs. While ladybugs mainly eat aphids and soft-bodied insects, they also feed on fruits and anything sweet.

Fruits with high sugar content and non-acidic fruits are the ladybug’s favorites.

Alternatively, some sources claim strawberries are too high in acid for ladybug health. Fortunately, since ladybugs regulate their own diets, you don’t need to worry too much about feeding them the wrong foods.

If there’s too much acid, they will generally avoid it.

How Do Ladybugs Eat Strawberries

A ladybug can bite into a strawberry, unlike some thick-skinned or tough-skinned fruits such as apples and bananas.

The ladybug’s mouth doesn’t have teeth or hard bony ridges like most reptiles and mammals use. Additionally, they do not have beaks like a bird. Instead, these tiny beetles use mandibles to bite and chew.

Although ladybug mandibles are very small, they’re just large enough to pinch a human. Fortunately, they are not poisonous, and it wouldn’t hurt much if a ladybug bit you.

However, those mandibles act like pinchers and teeth to grab and grind for soft-bodied bugs and soft fruits.

Teeth use an up and down motion to bite and chew. In some cases, cow and deer chewing cud may grind sideways with their teeth to pulverize a tough silica-rich food.

Mandibles, on the other hand, are more like flexible serrated shovels. They pinch, grind and push food into the mouth in a smooth motion.

How Often Will Ladybugs Eat Strawberries

When you raise ladybugs at home, you have complete control over their diet, so how often you feed them strawberries is up to you.

In nature, ladybugs spend their days flying around and eating all day. In fact, these beetles can eat over five thousand aphids in their lifetime.

According to Wikihow, “To avoid overfeeding your ladybug, plan on only giving it food once or twice per day. Keep in mind that ladybugs eat a lot for their size, so if you want to take care of a lot of them at once, you’ll need to supply enough food to keep them all satisfied.”

If the food in your ladybug enclosure disappears too quickly, then add more. Sadly, there’s not much info on exactly how much to give a particular number of ladybugs, so you have to estimate based on experience.

However, an excellent place to start is by shredding up half a leaf of lettuce, adding half to one strawberry cut up and a dime-sized drop of water mixed with honey.

The water will easily fit on a bottlecap, and the ladybugs will take care of eating and drinking what they need.

Your ladybugs will eventually need aphids to survive. Carnivorous or rather omnivorous creatures require a lot of non-plant proteins, and ladybugs, in particular, are voracious eaters.

However, in the short term, they can thrive well enough on lettuces and fruit. More importantly, it’s okay to offer a ladybug fruit like strawberries or bananas twice per day.

Will Strawberries Harm Ladybugs

Strawberries will not harm ladybugs. While they avoid citrus, pineapples, and other highly acidic fruits, some strawberries, especially when dried and rehydrated may be beneficial to these sugar-loving bugs.

A lower level like limes (pH 2.4) means a lot of acids. Technically any pH below seven is considered acid, and anything above it is a base.

Fortunately, there is a big difference between a little mild fruit acid and something hazardous like hydrochloric acid.

Below I’ve made a list of common fruits ladybugs will eat and their pH levels for easy comparison.

Fruits Ladybugs Eat By pH

Fruit TypepH Level
Apples3.33-3.9 depending on species

Looking at this chart it’s easy to see that apples and strawberries are among the most acidic fruits a ladybug might choose to eat.

Anything that’s too acid is thought to be bad for them and they will avoid eating it. However, I found no studies on how much fruit acid ladybugs can tolerate.

Rehydrated fruits are often recommended for ladybug diets and adding water to anything will reduce its acidity when adequately absorbed.

Helpful Tips To Know If Ladybugs Eat Strawberries

Some ladybugs eat strawberries. However, this fruit is at the high-end of the fruit-acid levels they seem to tolerate.

Here are more helpful tips to know if ladybugs eat strawberries.

  • Ladybugs love sugar. Not only will they eat natural fruit sugars and honey, but also candy. While it is rare and generally considered bad for them, ladybugs can eat a small amount of chocolate or other soft candies.
  • Because of their tiny mouths, ladybugs cannot bite through fruit skin or handle dehydrated fruits until they are rehydrated. If you plan to feed a ladybug dehydrated strawberries, raisins, or dried apricots, you should soak them in water first and consider cutting them up so the beetles can reach the soft sugary insides.
  • Ironically, ladybugs don’t eat citrus, but they may be the reason we have citrus fruits in the USA. The mealy bug ladybird is a fungus feeding species and has been said to have saved the California citrus industry in 1891.

Final Thoughts

Ladybugs eat many things depending on their species, such as insects, fungi, and other ladybugs. However, almost all ladybugs enjoy a little bit of sugar and can eat strawberries.

However, the strawberry seems to be sitting right on the edge between just-right and too much acid for these small beetles. I recommend only feeding them rehydrated strawberries to be safe.

Ted Smith

My name is Ted Smith and I’m the creator of I have a passion for educating people about animals and wildlife. I have been working with the National Wildlife Federation for the past 10 years and I became a wildlife blogger to help people become excited about animals and encouraged to care for these wonderful creatures.

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