Accidental bug ingestion is something that happens to us all at one time or another. Whether riding a bike, running, or just inhaling too sharply, it’s easy to swallow the occasional insect – but is it something to worry about?
Generally, no – but some insect species are toxic, including certain types of moth.
So, what happens if you accidentally eat a moth, and will you be OK?
I swallowed a moth! Will I be OK?
Generally speaking, swallowing a bug is nothing to worry about, as your body will digest the unfortunate critter as it would any other type of food.
However, certain moth species and their larvae are known to be poisonous if consumed.
Poisonous moth species and their larvae can often be recognized by brightly colored spots, or they may have visible hairs or spines. If it looks toxic, don’t put it in your mouth!
Of course, most people won’t wilfully eat a moth (and especially not one with warning colors and spines). The moth species you are most likely to accidentally eat is the pantry moth (aka the Indian Meal Moth) as these household pests lay their eggs directly onto foodstuffs. While the thought of having consumed an entire moth family may be stomach-churning, it’s actually nothing to worry about.
Keep in mind!
Pantry moths are not dangerous, nor do they produce toxins or carry diseases. So, even if you do accidentally eat a party moth you may be nauseated, but you’re very unlikely to get sick.
Can you get sick from eating moths?
If you accidentally eat a moth, or their larvae or eggs, don’t panic! Generally, no harm will come from swallowing the occasional moth (or any other type of bug).
There are some species of poisonous and stinging moths out there but, with their bright colors and often-spiny bodies, to accidentally eat one of these would be some feat.
And even if you were to mistakenly eat a poisonous moth, it would be unlikely to have any adverse effect (unless you were to eat a large number of them).
If you swallow anything you shouldn’t, be on the look-out for:
- Stomach cramps
- Other signs of gastrointestinal distress
If you experience any of the above symptoms, or other signs of adverse reaction after swallowing a moth, contact a doctor for advice.
What if my dog eats a moth?
Dogs (and cats) will occasionally chase and eat moths, but this is unlikely to make them sick.
Eating a large number of hairy or poisonous moths may cause gastrointestinal symptoms, however, so discourage this wherever you can.
Accidentally swallowing a moth is gross, but it’s usually nothing to worry about. Although there are some species of a poisonous moth out there, their bright colors and bristles will distinguish them from other, benign moth species.