It’s not a good idea to let your dragon eat stink bugs. In fact, it’s not recommended for bearded dragons to eat any wild bugs.
Stink bugs may make your dragon sick; they are semi-toxic to bearded dragons, they can carry pesticides and other chemicals and parasites. While it may be difficult to prevent your dragon from finding a bug and eating it before you can stop them, there are ways to deter bugs from getting into your home where your dragon can find it.
Read on for more information on what to do if your bearded dragon eats a stink bug or other wild insects.
Are Stink Bugs Bad for Bearded Dragons?
Stink bugs are semi-toxic to bearded dragons, and therefore letting your dragon eat one could potentially make them sick or even kill them. More importantly, don’t let your bearded dragon eat any wild insects, even if they’re the same as the ones you can buy from the store. It’s impossible to know where they came from and what chemicals they could be carrying.
Stink bugs (and any other wild bugs) can also carry parasites. Whatever parasite(s) that stink bug was carrying would then be passed on to your dragon. Bearded dragons are also known to be highly susceptible to parasites, and therefore keeping them in a controlled environment is vital for their health.
It may be difficult to prevent your dragon from ingesting a stink bug while you’re outside with them, but if you can, stay away from areas where stink bugs are more prominent. It may be best to hang around indoors with your dragon if stink bugs are a big problem where you live.
If a stink bug manages to sneak its way into your house and your dragon finds and eats it, take them to the vet right away. Your bearded dragon could get sick or die. Prevent wild bugs from getting into your home and cover your dragon’s enclosure (more information on this later), so your dragon doesn’t get the chance to eat one.
Some people go out of their way to feed their dragon’s wild insects and stink bugs to save a few pennies, but this could actually result in them spending more money than if they’d just purchased them from a pet store. Putting your dragon’s health and life at risk to try and save money won’t be worth it, especially if you have to take them to the vet. In the end, feeding your dragon stink bugs and other wild insects could cost you more money and your dragon’s life.
Five Reasons Stink Bugs are Bad for Bearded Dragons
Your dragon can develop a taste for them and refuse other food.
Some bearded dragons may end up liking the taste of stink bugs or any other insects you feed them. The problem with them developing a taste for stink bugs (and other wild insects) is that your dragon may begin to prefer stink bugs over their other food. Some dragons may even refuse to eat anything else but their preferred food.
This is especially true for pickier dragons. You may think that your dragon will eventually become hungry enough to eat what you give them, but bearded dragons are stubborn creatures. Your bearded dragon may starve itself to death simply because you wouldn’t feed them a wild and potentially toxic insect.
Stink bugs could cause impaction.
Your bearded dragon may suffer from impaction after eating a stink bug. Oftentimes bearded dragons will have runny feces if they are suffering from a stomach ache, but the opposite can happen as well.
Your dragon may struggle to digest the stink bug, therefore refusing to eat and are unable to defecate. A vet can prescribe medications and give you the advice to help your dragon pass the stink bug.
They can carry parasites.
Stink bugs can also carry parasites, and whatever was on that insect that your dragon ingested has been transferred to them. A range of problems can occur, and it could happen rather quickly.
If you notice your bearded dragon eating any wild insect, not just a stink bug, immediately take them to the vet to get checked. It isn’t recommended to wait and see how your dragon’s body reacts because it may be too late by the time you notice.
Bearded dragons are already very susceptible to parasites. Therefore feeding your dragon stink bugs or other wild insects is only putting them at further risk.
They can carry pesticides.
You don’t know where those bugs have been, and they could be carrying insecticide or other chemicals that could hurt your dragon. They may look fine, but they’ve been outside of your home where you had no possible way of monitoring what they did.
They are semi-toxic to bearded dragons.
While some dragons may seem fine after eating a stink bug, stink bugs are still semi-toxic to bearded dragons. Your dragon will likely get sick with or without your knowledge. You can’t see into their digestive system, nor can your bearded dragon tell you how they feel.
What If My Bearded Dragon Eats a Stink Bug?
If your bearded dragon eats a stink bug, take them to the vet right away. You may need to give your dragon frequent baths to help them digest and get the bug out of their system. Your vet may recommend specific foods or medicines to help your bearded dragon.
Pay attention to any sick symptoms such as abnormal feces (runny or lack thereof), weight loss, loss of appetite, loss of coloring, lethargy, or dehydration (wrinkled and sunken eyes). If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your vet again and let them know even after you’ve gone to them previously. Wild bugs can be more detrimental to your dragon’s health than you realize.
Avoid letting your dragon eat any more stink bugs in the future by taking safety precautions. It isn’t always possible to prevent your dragon from finding a wild bug and eating it, but there are ways to lower the possibility of it happening.
How to Prevent My Beardie from Eating Stink Bugs
- Keep a close eye on your dragon at all times when they are outside of the enclosure. Don’t let your dragon wander around without your knowledge and supervision.
- Keep a screen or some mesh on the cage to prevent wild bugs from flying into the enclosure if a wild bug gets into your house.
- Avoid areas where stink bugs are more prominent, especially outside. In the winter, when stink bugs are looking for warm environments. With this in mind, it’s essential to make sure your house is sealed.
- Make sure that your home is completely sealed and void of possible cracks and entrances for wild bugs to get through. Use caulk to seal window frames, cracks, etc. Fixing screens and keeping your home clean will also help.
- Create a spray made of one part water, one part dish soap, and one part lavender oil to spray window sills and other areas around and inside your home where you’ve noticed stink bugs. This alone won’t likely keep all of the stink bugs at bay, but it may deter them a bit.
- Vacuum any stink bugs you find around the home. Just make sure to have an odor neutralizer inside the vacuum bag and throw it out immediately to prevent the smell from escaping. Otherwise, you may find yourself with a scent that lingers in your vacuum and home.
- An insecticide is another option, but it’s not recommended. Referring to the previous section, if your dragon happens to ingest one that is carrying insecticide, it will hurt your bearded dragon. If you plan to use it outside of your home and don’t own any other animals, you could consider using insecticide.
- Catnip is an easy option to use to prevent stink bugs. You can choose to grow some around or outside of your house. You could also sprinkle it around window sills and other parts of your home where bugs could potentially get in. Plus, this will prevent other bugs from hanging around your home and getting inside.
Just because your bearded dragon may appear fine, you have to remember that you can’t see inside of their digestive tract. They also can’t tell you how they feel. Their sick symptoms may be very difficult to miss. For all you know, they may be suffering from a horrible stomach ache that could kill them.
You may notice other people feeding their bearded dragons stink bugs and other wild insects, but this can be very unsafe and hurt your dragon. Especially if you’re new to owning a bearded dragon, avoid feeding your dragon stink bugs and wild insects. One mistake or one unlucky occasion could end your dragon’s life. It’s essential to watch your dragon and take preventative measures if you live somewhere where stink bugs and other wild insects tend to be a problem.