What Do Insects Eat?

Ever wonder what insects eat? Insects play an important role in the world’s ecosystem, but what exactly goes into their diet?

In this article, you’ll get an inside look at insect food, diets, and facts to comprehend these complex creatures in the animal kingdom.

Gain an understanding of what insects eat and find out interesting things along the way with this guide on insect food, diet & facts.

What Are Insects?

Insects are arthropods with an exoskeleton, a segmented body, and three distinct body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen).

They have three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and the ability to fly (for certain species).

Insects are incredibly adaptable and are found in almost every environment on Earth.

Their diet varies depending on the species, but their food remains the same regardless of their environment.

What Do Insects Eat?

Insects feed on various items, such as nectar and sap, other insects, fungi, plants, and even dirt.

Many insects are able to convert inedible materials, such as dead wood, paper, or fecal waste, into food through the process of decomposition.

When it comes to keeping insects in terrariums, I like to subdivide bugs into dietary categories: 

  • Detritivores and decomposers feed mainly on rotting organic material, such as dead plants or animals.
  • Omnivores, such as cockroaches, are able to consume both plants and other insects.
  • Carnivores, such as certain kinds of ants, feed mainly on other insects, spiders, and sometimes small animals.
  • Palynivores, such as fruit flies and butterflies, can feed on nectar and pollen.
  • Herbivores, such as grasshoppers and crickets, feed mainly on plant parts, such as leaves and stems.

In addition to the main food sources, some insects also prefer certain types of food from other subdivisions, such as sweets or carbohydrates.

Detritivores & Decomposers

Detritivores and decomposers have different roles in the food chain, and when both are part of an ecosystem, it benefits the overall health of the system.

Detritivores are organisms that consume dead organic matter, such as leaves and other plant material.

Decomposers, on the other hand, break down dead organic matter into simpler, inorganic compounds, such as carbon dioxide and water, which can then be used by other organisms.

The detritivores provide a source of food, while the decomposers break it down and make it available for other organisms.

Keeping both of these organisms together in a vivarium is beneficial as it will ensure that there is an abundance of food since detritivores will have plenty to eat and decomposers will be able to break it down.

Click on one of the images below to see the insect’s specific diet requirements:

Insects That Eat Other Insects

Carnivorous insects hunt for and consume live prey, such as other insects or small animals.

Vivariums that include these insects also provide an effective way to control pest populations as these insects naturally prey on mites, gnats, or unwanted guests.

Keeping carnivorous insects is one of the most efficient methods of population control as they can easily and quickly identify, capture, and consume their prey without the use of chemicals.

In addition, they add a fascinating element of the food chain that can be studied and admired by both children and adults.

Click on one of the images below to see the insect’s specific diet requirements:

Insects That Eat Plants & Everything Else

Omnivorous insects are those that will consume a wide variety of foods. The benefits of keeping easygoing-eaters in an enclosure are vast;

These insects provide an additional source of food for larger animals, as well as break down decaying matter, allowing for a healthier ecosystem within a tank.

Omnivorous bugs are also beneficial in that they are typically easy to care for, as they will consume a variety of fruits, vegetables, and other plant matter.

In addition, they can help to pollinate plants, making them an asset to a vivarium.

Click on one of the images below to see the insect’s specific diet requirements:

Insects That Don’t Eat Plants or Animals

Palynivores are a type of insect that feed on pollen and other pollens collected from flowers.

They have been used in research laboratories to study the possible ecological influences of pollinator species, as well as in the home as a natural way to keep a vivarium healthy and diverse.

Palynivores have the ability to process large amounts of pollen, which helps with plant growth, as well as providing sustenance for other insects in the vivarium.

Keeping Palynivores in a vivarium provides benefits such as improved air quality, increased insect diversity, and increased plant diversity.

Click on one of the images below to see the insect’s specific diet requirements:

Do Insects Drink Water?

Yes! Insects drink water.

Different insects have different methods of getting the water they need, with some drinking it directly from sources such as streams, rivers, and ponds.

Some insects will draw water through their bodies via water vapor or other sources such as sap.

Others consume food that contains a significant amount of water, such as plant nectar or fruits.

Insects also absorb water through their bodies from humid environments and from plants.


In conclusion, insects are commonplace animals with a range of diet choices. They can feed on fruit, vegetables, grains, nectar, and other meat.

Additionally, some insects are decomposers, allowing them to feed on inedible materials. Each kind of insect has its own specific eating habits which can make them interesting to observe in the wild or in captivity.

With this handy guide, you’ll know exactly what insects eat and the interesting facts surrounding their diets.

Frequently Asked Questions

Bugs tend to stay away from foods that are spicy, acidic, or bitter. Some examples of foods that bugs typically don‘t like include citrus fruits, onions, chives, garlic, hot peppers, and spicy seasonings such as cayenne pepper and chili powder.

Insects generally feed on a wide array of food sources, depending on the species. Common sources of food for insects include plants (such as leaves, flowers, stems, fruits, and vegetables), other insects, fungi, and even carrion. Some species also feed on decaying organic matter.

Insects feed on various food sources including plants, fruits, and nectar, as well as small invertebrates, such as other insects, worms, and spiders. Some insects, such as honeybees, feed on sugary solutions. Some species of predatory insects, such as mosquitoes and dragonflies, feed on the blood of animals, while others feed on detritus, decaying plant and animal matter found in a variety of environments.

Insects eat a variety of things depending on the species. Common foods for insects include pollen, nectar, leaves, fruits, stems, and roots. Some insects are carnivorous, feeding on other insects and small animals such as spiders and snails. Other insects feed on decaying organic matter and fungi.

No, most insects are not carnivores. They are usually either herbivores or omnivores, depending on the species.

Yes, some species of insects will feed on dead animals for both nutrition and for reproduction. Flies and beetles are two of the main groups of insects that feed on dead animals.

Yes, insects such as predatory species like dragonflies, mantids, and spiders do eat other animals, such as smaller spiders, small reptiles, and other insects.

There are very few insects that have teeth, just not in the way humans do. Insects with teeth include certain species of cockroaches, bedbugs, and ants.

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