It’s highly important to monitor what goes into your bearded dragon’s little tummy at all times. Bearded dragons in captivity do not have the skills to decide what is safe to eat or not. Since they’ve been sheltered all their lives, they probably will munch on any insect-sized thing that moves.
Even though beardies are omnivorous, there are just some food choices that are detrimental to their health, and sometimes even lethal. In these cases, the item or insect may be indigestible, incompatible, or outrightly toxic to the beardie that eats it. Some of these insects glow, others have fatal poisons in them, and other insects just stink really, really bad. So, what’s the deal with stink bugs and bearded dragons?
Stink bugs are not safe for bearded dragons to consume, even though some of the species are edible to humans. The bugs contain high levels of phosphorus which is toxic to bearded dragons. So, your beardie certainly should not be eating stink bugs for any reason at all.
If your bearded dragon should mistakenly consume a stink bug, don’t panic. This article equips you with the proper information to battle the ordeal like an expert. Let’s get right into it.
4 Reasons Why Stink Bugs Are Bad For Your Bearded Dragon
Stink bugs are highly meddlesome insect species that have rocked the global agricultural field in quite a negative way. They devour fruits and vegetables, happen to be quite mobile, and multiply sufficiently to cause more havoc. You can easily find the little ‘shield bugs’ crawling around your yard especially if you live in a farm setting. So, it’s no surprise that your beardie gobbled one up before you could interfere.
If otherwise your pet is safe and you’re simply curious and are wondering whether beardies can eat stink bugs at all, here are 4 reasons why stink bugs are a bad choice for bearded dragons:
1. Stink Bugs Are Too High In Phosphorus
Stink bugs are rich in iron, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Ideally, this bug should be nutritious for bearded dragons to consume. However, the phosphorus content in stink bugs is way too high to be safe for your pet. The preferable mineral ratio including phosphorus should be 2:1 where other safe minerals like calcium or potassium are 2 times greater than phosphorus.
In stink bugs, the phosphorus content is equalized. Instead of your bearded dragon getting the necessary calcium it needs, the excess phosphorus binds to the calcium and drags it along to be excreted. Thus, weakening its bones and promoting metabolic bone disease.
2. Stink Bugs Are Nauseating To Beardies
Stink bugs possess glands that secrete aromatic compounds when they’re threatened, ushering the smell you know so well. These aromatic secretions are defense mechanisms to keep the bugs from getting eaten by predators. The secretions meddle with the gastric juices of bearded dragons thereby causing vomiting or stomach issues. Although it’s not fatal, it sure is terribly uncomfortable to the beardie that eats it.
3. Stink Bugs Are Almost Indigestible
Similar to mealworms and superworms, stink bugs have a tough outer shell that protects them from their hardcore environment, and other predatory animals from eating them up – including your bearded dragon. The shield is particularly tough to digest so much so that animals that eat stink bugs can even poop the shield out whole! If your beardie eats a stink bug, it could lead to impaction in the long run.
4. Stink Bugs Are Major Parasite Carriers
There are several parasites for the many species of stink bugs that exist. Each type of stink bug is attacked by a type of parasite that benefits from the species, and can be multiplied even further by a predator host. If your bearded dragon consumes a stink bug, it will be exposed to these parasites that could seriously cause it to fall ill.
What To Do If Your Beardie Consumes A Stink Bug
In case of an accident where your bearded dragon has just consumed a stink bug, here are 3 immediate things you can do to help:
Take Your Beardie To A Vet
Veterinary doctors know exactly what to do or expect in accidents that concern your beardie. On getting to the vet, timely check-ups will be carried out to monitor the vitality of your pet. If your dragon has ingested way too many stink bugs, surgery may be needed to remove the plug. It depends on how dire the situation is. Either way, the safest bet for your bearded dragon is the veterinary doctor.
Give Your Beardie A Nice Bath
When your pet ingests a mildly toxic substance, one good thing you can try is proper hydration. Hydrating your bearded dragon can help it to excrete the stink bug it has eaten especially if it has gotten impacted by the bug. Prepare a shallow water bath in a container and put your bearded dragon in it. This will help it to absorb the water and simultaneously stimulate bowel movement to poop out the bug faster.
Place Your Beardie On A Veggie Diet
Vegetables are one of the proper ways bearded dragons source hydration. If your pet has eaten a stink bug, you’d want it to flush out the forbidden treat as soon as possible. Take two-day intervals out of the week to provide them with a salad of both watery and dense veggies.
You’d want to chop up veggies like cucumber, lettuce, and watermelon alongside their regular greens to help them poop the excess phosphorus and bug plug that’s wedged in their bellies. Do this for one week at interims and monitor their stools until you are fully aware that the congested bug has been kicked out.
3 Great Ways To Keep Stink Bugs Out Of Your Home
It may be surprising, but stink bugs do not necessarily want to stay in your home. During colder seasons, stink bugs would look for warm places to rest and when these seasons pass, they’d return to the open where they can cause more havoc to greenery.
However, it’s still an absolute nuisance dealing with these insects. Here are 3 ways you can keep them out of your home:
1. Get An Insect Trap
For insects like stink bugs, an insect trap is the most effective way to reduce their population in your home (view on Amazon). Insecticides will only kill the ones you can see, but more of them will be hiding out in nooks and crevices away from sight. Also, insecticides are seriously harmful to your bearded dragon, so it’s preferable to use a trap.
A local insect wax trap is highly effective in luring stink bugs. Since they are attracted to warmth and light, they’d be drawn to the trap and get caught in it. All you need to do is to burn a large candle in a container, and the stink bugs will be drawn to it.
2. Use The Sock And Vacuum Method
This method involves inserting a sock into the tube of a vacuum cleaner with the opening of the sock sticking out of the tube. You would need a rubber band or a string to tie the opening of the sock onto the opening of the tube in such a way that the sock makes a temporary filter when you vacuum.
Now, try as much as you can to sweep out tight corners and gaps where you suspect the stink bugs reside. Instead of the bugs falling into the vacuum and remaining there alive, they would get trapped in the sock instead. You can then swiftly remove the sock with the bugs in it and dispose of the little troublemaker properly.
3. Fill In The Gaps Around Your Home
Gaps and crevices are the easiest way for stink bugs to crawl into your home. Take a stroll around your home and inspect the windows, doors, vents, or anywhere that cuts out an entry into your home. If you see holes or cracks big enough for bugs to get in, you’d have to seal them up to ensure the bugs do not get in after you get them out of your home.
Remember, stink bugs are fair-weather bugs that would only come around when they need warmth. If your home is sealed up properly, you and your beardie will be spared the infestation.
Similar Bugs That Are Dangerous To Bearded Dragons
Asides from stink bugs, several other bugs can cause serious harm to your beardie if eaten. Here are 2 bugs that are toxic to your bearded dragon:
Spiders can either be venomous or poisonous and either of the groups poses a serious threat to bearded dragons. They may either lead to digestive issues or may be affected by the venom contained in the spiders. If your beardie eats a spider, ensure you rush to the vet immediately.
Glow worms are easily the most toxic bugs that bearded dragons could ever eat. They contain toxins that directly attack the heart of bearded dragons, killing them instantly. If your pet has ingested a firefly, immediately rush it to the vet to give it a fighting chance.
The case of beardies eating stink bugs is much more common than you think. That is why it is important to understand the repercussions and preventive measures for such an accident. If you live in areas that are invaded by stink bugs, do your best to ensure that your home is reinforced so that there is no chance of your beardie meeting a stink bug. Especially if you let your dragon roam around your home. With the discussion we’ve just had, you should be able to manage the situation like an expert. Good luck!