There are more than 5,000 species of ladybugs and they are only poisonous to smaller animals such as birds and lizards. Ladybugs are not considered poisonous to humans. However, people that accidentally consume a ladybug find them foul-tasting.
Ladybugs are beetles. In Europe, they are more commonly known as ladybird beetles. Their brightly colored bodies serve to warn off approaching predators by alerting them that they are not a tasty snack. Their bright red coloring is a natural defense system that protects them from harm. A human would have to consume hundreds of ladybugs in one sitting to feel any ill effects.
Scientific research conducted by Exeter and Liverpool Universities found that ladybugs that eat heartily early in life develop brighter colors than those that eat more sparsely. Those with bright red bodies have stronger poison defenses than their paler counterparts. Being a brighter color also makes them easier to see, which is good for staying out of danger.
Ladybugs are considered friendly insects by gardeners because they love to eat plant-destroying bugs. Most ladybugs feed on aphids. They often lay eggs near colonies of aphids. The young offspring begin feeding on aphids immediately after hatching. Allowing a garden ladybug to crawl on the skin is not dangerous.