Insects You Need to Watch Out for in Singapore
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Insects You Need to Watch Out for in Singapore

Bugs, bugs everywhere! Singapore’s tropical climate is like an all-you-can-eat buffet for these tiny critters, making it seem like they’re the unofficial rulers of the land.

But which insect in Singapore do you need to watch out for, and which is okay? To tell them apart, join me as we take a macroscopic look at some of Mother Nature’s most quirky creations.

What insects are common at home in Singapore?

1. Termites


Identifying traits: Pale, almost translucent soft bodies, straight antennae, live in large colonies

Notorious for wood-eating habits and intricate nests with tunnel systems

Homemade remedy: No recommended home-based methods, as termite control should be left to the experts

Termites are the gourmet wood-munchers of the insect world. They’re like master recyclers, breaking down dead plant matter and keeping ecosystems in check. But let’s not forget their other talent: wreaking havoc on our precious structures and furniture! 

Singapore’s tropical climate provides the perfect conditions for termites to thrive. Its warm and consistent temperatures year-round accelerate the growth and activity of these destructive critters.

So once you have clues that these little troublemakers have moved in, it’s best to call in the pest control pros for proper identification and eviction plans. Only they know how to eradicate termites completely.

Important insect info: The abundance of vegetation in tropical areas provides termites with an ample food supply.

2. Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs

Identifying traits: Rusty brown colour, 4 to 5 millimetres in length, flat, oval-shaped bodies

Notorious for being nocturnal and feeding on sleeping humans; being in areas close to human hosts

Homemade remedy: Regular vacuuming and mattress cleaning in infested areas and the use of diatomaceous earth

Bed bugs are the stealthy roommates that love to cosy up in your bed, couch, and any other nooks they can find. They’re nocturnal ninjas, feasting on your blood while you’re blissfully dreaming.

They set up camp right where you rest your weary head—in beds, mattresses, and even gaps in furniture. After a blood buffet, they puff up like tiny mattresses themselves, becoming round and engorged. 

You might not see them right away, but you can watch out for their nasty calling cards—dark stains and spots on your beloved bedding! Ugh.

If you suspect their uninvited presence, it’s time to call in the pest control superheroes to save the day and kick those tiny bloodsuckers to the curb. Don’t wait until your skin is riddled with nasty red bites!

Important insect info: Non-professional remedies may have limited effectiveness and may not eliminate a bed bug infestation.

3. Mosquitoes


Identifying traits: Small with delicate, narrow bodies; females have a long, needle-like proboscis

Notorious for laying their eggs in water or areas prone to flooding; being vectors for various diseases

Homemade remedy: Remove any stagnant water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding, but let mosquito control professionals handle an infestation.

Mosquitoes as miniature villains aren’t just annoying. They’re disease-carrying culprits too, spreading dengue fever and Zika virus like tiny, airborne messengers of misery.

They can go full vampire, piercing our skin and slurping up our precious blood for egg development. And let’s not forget the unmistakable, irritating buzz announcing their mission to ruin our outdoor (or indoor) bliss.

You may hear of so-called home remedies using citronella and other essential oils, and they might even work to keep mosquitoes at bay—for a while. But it’s best to stay vigilant and consider calling in the big guns when needed. 

Important insect info: Only female mosquitoes feed on blood, while males primarily feed on nectar from flowers.

4. Ants


Identifying traits: Segmented body, six legs, bent antennae; strong jaws

Notorious for social hierarchy in organised colonies

Homemade remedy: Vinegar or lemon juice solution; a mixture of Borax and sugar

Picture this: a bustling ant metropolis, complete with its social hierarchy and division of labour with its queen as the ultimate monarch of the ant world. These tiny critters know how to run a tight ship! 

It sounds like an idyllic scenario, but ants are notorious summer bugs that can ruin picnic plans and other outdoor activities. Their presence in kitchens or pantries can be unsanitary, too.

They’re real estate connoisseurs that set up shop in the most unexpected places. Underground lairs, cosy tree cavities, even sneaky little cracks and crevices—you name it, they’ve got it covered. 

Certain ant species, like carpenter ants, can also cause structural damage to wooden structures or furniture. They excavate galleries within the wood, potentially weakening the integrity of the affected items.

Important insect info: For persistent or severe ant problems, it’s recommended to consult professional ant killers for effective and long-term solutions.

5. Flies


Identifying traits: Quick, agile movements, large compound eyes, two transparent wings

Notorious for rapid life cycles; being an indicator of unsanitary conditions and disease transmitter

Homemade remedy: Proper waste management and regular cleaning

Flies, even those found at home, are far from harmless. These tiny troublemakers can be disease-carrying villains, spreading all sorts of nasty pathogens like a fiendish courier service

House flies and fruit flies, in particular, are the culprits you should watch out for. When they decide to land on your precious food or surfaces, they leave behind a lovely cocktail of their bodily fluids, faecal matter, and bacterial buddies. Yuck!

To truly conquer the fly invasion, channel your inner cleanliness guru. Embrace good sanitation, proper waste management, regular cleaning, and keeping your surroundings spick and span to deter those little flying nuisances from making themselves at home.

Important insect info: Certain flowers and herbs can repel pests like house flies, too.

6. Cockroaches


Identifying traits: Dark brown colour, six legs, quick movements, oval-shaped body, musty odour

Notorious for nocturnal movements; disappearing into small cracks and crevices; bringing disease, allergies, and food contamination

Homemade remedy: Baking soda and sugar trap; practising good sanitation and hygiene

Cockroaches aren’t the cutest critters on the block and they don’t bring anything good to the table. They’re walking disease carriers that pick up all sorts of nasty stuff from their unsavoury hangouts and then spread it to everything they touch. 

But here’s the deal: prevention is your secret weapon. Keep your place spick and span, seal up any entry points, and don’t let those sneaky roaches find a cosy home in your kitchen.  

If those persistent buggers refuse to take the hint, it’s time to call in a professional cockroach control service to sweep in like heroes, inspect every nook and cranny, and unleash their targeted treatment to send those nasties packing.

Important insect info: Cockroaches have a high reproductive rate, with females capable of producing numerous eggs in a short period. This allows infestations to grow rapidly, making them challenging to control.

7. Silverfish

— From olympuslifescience

Identifying traits: Silvery appearance, no wings, long, slender shape, three long “tails”

Notorious for being nocturnal; being one of the insects that destroy clothes and paper items

Homemade remedy: Diatomaceous earth, boric acid, keeping your home well-ventilated

Silverfish may not be the most dangerous critters out there, but they sure know how to be a nuisance. These sneaky pests have a taste for the finer things in life such as your books, papers, and beloved fabrics.

They thrive in damp and humid environments, so keep your home fresh and breezy with proper ventilation. Fix those leaky pipes, bring in the dehumidifiers, and ensure your drainage is top-notch.

Don’t let silverfish happily chow down on your precious possessions, leaving behind a trail of cosmetic damage and potential heartbreak. Keep things dry at home and less appealing to them.

Important insect info: The bodies of silverfish are covered in scales, giving them a shimmering appearance when light reflects off them.

What are some flying bugs in Singapore?

8. Butterflies


Critter characteristics: Colourful wings, slender bodies, long proboscis, delicate flight patterns

Where to find them: In private and public gardens especially during warm and sunny weather

Butterflies are captivating creatures and the epitome of beauty and transformation. With their vibrant wings, graceful flight, and mind-blowing life cycle, they’ve become the darlings of the natural world.

Because of its rich biodiversity, numerous species of butterflies can be found throughout the country. Some popular species include the Common Tiger, Painted Jezebel, and Lime Butterfly.

You can view some colourful butterflies in various locations across Singapore. Check them out the next time you’re in Gardens By the Bay, The Butterfly Park & Insect Kingdom at Sentosa Park, Singapore Botanic Gardens, and other nature reserves.

Important insect info: Its life cycle involves a complete metamorphosis. It starts as an egg, hatches into a caterpillar, transforms inside a chrysalis or cocoon, and eventually emerges as a beautiful butterfly.

9. Dragonflies


Critter characteristics: Large eyes, long, slender bodies, vibrant colours, four wings

Where to find them: Near water bodies, including ponds, lakes, streams, coastal vegetation, and marshy areas

Dragonflies, with their badass wing setup of four wings, are the daredevils of the insect world. Their independent front and hind wings give them the agility to pull off mind-blowing aerial manoeuvres.

From dazzling blues and greens to eye-catching yellows and reds, these winged wonders know how to make a statement. Some dragonflies even sport a metallic or iridescent shine that would make any fashionista jealous. 

If you want to catch these aviators in action, head to the nearest water bodies—ponds, lakes, streams, you name it. Just make sure it’s a sunny day because that’s when these dragonfly showoffs flaunt their skills.

Important insect info: Dragonflies are carnivorous insects, and their diet consists primarily of other insects, including mosquitoes, flies, and gnats!

10. Bees 


Critter characteristics: Compact and hairy body, specific colouration, females have stingers 

Where to find them: Urban gardens, nature reserves, horticultural parks

Bees are the busy superheroes of the insect world. These tiny workers are all about pollination and honey-making (and making busy buzzy sounds). 

Female bees, or the worker bees, come equipped with a cool stinger at the end of their abdomen. Some bees, like bumblebees, have smooth stingers that let them unleash multiple stings without leaving their stingers behind.

Many bee species, including honeybees and bumblebees, are highly social and live in organised colonies. These colonies consist of a queen bee, worker bees, and sometimes drones—each with specific roles and responsibilities within the colony.

Important insect info: While bees are generally beneficial and crucial for pollination, they can sting if they feel threatened.

11. Moths


Critter characteristics: Two pairs of scaly wings, feathery antennae, attraction to artificial lights

Where to find them: Coastal and forested areas, fluttering around streetlights, residential zones

Moths are creatures of the night, drawn to the glow of artificial lights like groupies at a rock concert. When they take a break from their nocturnal adventures, you’ll find them chilling with their wings spread flat, looking like a cosy rooftop.

They come in all shapes and sizes, flaunting a wardrobe of colours ranging from subdued neutrals to bold, vibrant shades. But unlike butterflies, moth wings are usually duller in colour and have more muted patterns.

As for their dining preferences, some moths enjoy a fancy feast on nectar, while others are content to reminisce about their larval days and rely on stored energy. 

Just make sure they don’t come within range of your clothes racks if you don’t want a hole-y wardrobe, though.

Important insect info: Moth antennae are used for sensing pheromones and detecting scents in the environment.

12. Gnats


Critter characteristics: Smaller than houseflies and mosquitoes, erratic flying pattern, short lifespan

Where to find them: Moist environments and areas with high humidity, near bodies of water, damp soil, or decaying organic matter

Gnats, those tiny troublemakers of the insect world, come in different flavours like fruit flies and fungus gnats. While they may share some similarities, each gnat species has its unique quirks and tricks up its tiny sleeves.

Despite their small stature, they sure know how to make a scene with their erratic flying antics. You might catch them darting and hovering in a frenzy, forming swarms that could rival a mini tornado. 

This makes them extra annoying when you want to spend time outdoors. Good thing they have short lifespans—around a few days to a few weeks, so you don’t need to be annoyed or frustrated with them for too long.

Important insect info: Gnats lay their eggs in moist soil or organic matter. The larvae develop in these moist environments before emerging as adult gnats.

What insects are endemic to Singapore?

13. Singapore Cicada

Singapore Cicada

Critter characteristics: Green or brown body colouration, around 1.2 to 2 inches long, prominent round eyes, transparent wings

Where to find them: In trees and shrubs, especially during the hot summer months 

The Singapore cicada (scientific name Tacua speciosa), also known as the “Loud-Tiger Cicada,” is the rockstar of the insect world. With their flashy style and vibrant colours, these cicadas know how to make an entrance. 

Their green or brown bodies, adorned with intricate patterns, turn heads wherever they go. And when the summer heat kicks in, these party animals take centre stage, belting out their tunes from the treetops. 

So if you’re looking to catch a glimpse of these lively creatures and enjoy their melodious songs, head outdoors and explore the nature-rich areas of Singapore. Check them out in parks, gardens, forests, and other green areas. 

Important insect info: Males produce a buzzing or clicking sound by vibrating specialised structures called tymbals located on the sides of their abdomen.

14. Singapore Dingy Swallowtail 

Singapore Dingy Swallowtail

Critter characteristics: Predominantly greyish-brown, with faint patterns and markings; elongated hindwings that extend into a distinctive “tail-like” shape

Where to find them: In lush gardens, parks, and nature reserves

The Singapore Dingy Swallowtail, a charming little character in the butterfly world. This winged wonder is scientifically known as Papilio crino (but let’s stick with the catchy name).

It sports a rather modest appearance with its wings showcasing a delightful blend of brown and cream hues. Don’t be fooled by its “dingy” label because this butterfly knows how to add a touch of elegance to Singapore’s natural landscape.

They have a particular fondness for areas abundant in flowering plants, so keep an eye out for them near vibrant blossoms that catch their fancy. 

Important insect info: Although mostly grey or brown, some individuals may display subtle hints of blue or orange near the base of their wings. 

15. Singapore Dung Beetle 

Singapore Dung Beetle

Critter characteristics: Earthy coloured body, textured exoskeleton

Where to find them: In grasslands, forests, and other natural habitats 

The Singapore Dung Beetle is a true hero of the waste management world. These industrious insects make a living by rolling and burying balls of animal droppings.

Despite their size, Singapore Dung Beetles possess incredible strength. They can roll dung balls that are many times their own weight, making them the weightlifting champions of the insect world.

Why do they do it? By scavenging and burying animal faeces, they help with nutrient recycling and contribute to a healthier ecosystem!

Also, to dung beetles, poop is like a gourmet meal at a five-star restaurant. It’s packed with all sorts of organic goodies that these beetles find irresistible.

Important insect info: Male beetles often present a perfectly formed dung ball as a courtship gift to impress their potential mates. Nothing says “I love you” like a well-rolled piece of poop, right?

16. Singapore Tiger Beetle

Singapore Tiger Beetle

Critter characteristics: Striped body, bulging eyes, lightning-fast reflexes, powerful mandibles

Where to find them: Places with abundant sunlight and sparse vegetation; sandy or gravelly soil

The majestic Singapore Tiger Beetle is a creature that roams the sandy landscapes with the grace and fierceness of a tiny, six-legged feline. Like other beetles, it has strong mandibles that it uses to seize and subdue its prey. 

And just like its namesake, the Singapore Tiger Beetle is a cunning predator. It lurks in the sand, patiently waiting for its unsuspecting prey to come near. 

An active and agile insect, it’s known for its incredible speed and ability to dart across the sand with precision. Its quick movements make it a skilled hunter and an elusive sight for observers.

Important insect info: Singapore Tiger Beetles can capture and immobilise insects or other small invertebrates swiftly with their powerful jaws.

17. Singapore Katydid

Singapore Katydid

Critter characteristics: Vibrant green colour, long slender antennae, rhythmic night-time buzzing

Where to find them: Wooded areas, gardens, parks, and other green spaces with abundant vegetation

The Singapore Katydid is also known as the Green Bush-cricket. They’re masters of disguise, blending in among leaves and branches and playing hide-and-seek with would-be predators.

Despite their delicate appearance, Singapore katydids possess strong and formidable jaws. They use these mandibles to feast on a wide variety of plant materials, including leaves, flowers, and even small insects.

Once a Singapore katydid reaches adulthood, it will continue its melodious performances throughout its entire life. Their enchanting songs not only attract mates but also add a touch of enchantment to the natural world.

Important insect info: Singapore katydids recycle nutrients by consuming their own shed exoskeletons, maximising their resources and minimizing waste. 

18. Singapore Shield-backed Bug 

Singapore Shield-backed Bug

Critter characteristics: Oval-shaped flattened body with a distinctive shield-like structure covering its thorax and part of its abdomen

Where to find them: In forested areas, gardens, and parks throughout Singapore

The Singapore Shield-backed Bug, scientifically known as Pycanum rubens, is a fascinating insect native to Singapore. It has wings that are partially developed but since the bug is short, it looks almost wingless. 

This bug species is primarily herbivorous and feeds on various plants and foliage found in its natural habitat. The shield-like structure on its back serves as a form of protection, providing camouflage and defence against potential predators. 

When threatened, the bug may tuck its legs and antennae close to its body, further enhancing its shield-like appearance and making it less vulnerable. Guess we can all learn something from this hardy critter about protection!

Important insect info: The bug’s flattened body shape allows it to squeeze into narrow spaces, making it adept at hiding and seeking shelter among vegetation.

Which places in Singapore have the most bugs?

Certain places in Singapore tend to have a higher concentration of insects due to factors such as vegetation, humidity, and proximity to natural habitats. Pollinator gardens, wetlands and reservoirs, and other locations all harbour bugs.

19. Urban Areas with Vegetation

Urban Areas with Vegetation

Common locations: Singapore Botanic Gardens, MacRitchie Reservoir, and Pulau Ubin

Bugs are all part of the vibrant tapestry of nature in Singapore’s urban green spaces. Several urban areas with abundant vegetation attract a diverse range of bugs.

As one of the city’s green oases, the Botanic Gardens is home to a wide variety of plants and trees, making it a haven for insects. You can expect to find an array of bugs, including butterflies, dragonflies, bees, and beetles amidst the lush greenery.

MacRitchie Reservoir also offers a mix of forested areas, boardwalks, and trails, providing ample habitat for bugs to thrive. 

Be prepared to encounter buzzing mosquitoes, chirping crickets, darting damselflies, and perhaps even the elusive Singapore katydid.

Protective pro-tip: Be prepared for the occasional mosquito bite or encounter with other less desirable bugs by wearing protective clothing.

20. Wetlands and Bodies of Water

Wetlands and Bodies of Water

Common locations: Kranji marshes, Pasir Ris Park mangrove boardwalk, Lower Peirce Reservoir

Singapore’s wetland areas offer a chance to observe bugs in their natural habitats and appreciate their vital roles in the ecosystem. Luckily, a few wetland locations are known for their insect populations.

Kranji Marshes is a wetland area worth exploring for bug enthusiasts. With its freshwater marshes, reed beds, and mangroves, it attracts a wide array of insects, including dragonflies, damselflies, water bugs, and beetles.

Also, the mangrove boardwalk in Pasir Ris Park offers a glimpse into the unique mangrove ecosystem. You can spot various bugs adapted to the mangrove habitat, such as butterflies!

Protective pro-tip: As you explore, remember to respect the environment and follow any guidelines or regulations in place to ensure the preservation of these delicate ecosystems.

21. Public Gardens

Public Gardens

Common locations: Gardens by the Bay, Jurong Lake Gardens, East Coast Park

Singapore is home to several public gardens that boast abundant bug populations. In these places, you can enjoy observing their fascinating behaviours and appreciate the important role they play in the ecosystem.

Stretching along the eastern coastline of Singapore, East Coast Park offers a mix of sandy beaches, recreational areas, and lush greenery. Explore the park’s trails, picnic spots, and natural areas to encounter bugs like butterflies, bees, and beetles.

With its expansive green spaces, Jurong Lake Gardens provides a natural habitat for various bugs. Stroll along the boardwalks, explore the natural areas, and you may spot dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies, grasshoppers, and other insects.

Gardens by the Bay’s outdoor gardens, such as the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest, attract butterflies, bees, dragonflies, and other bugs that thrive amidst the beautiful flora.

22. Forested Areas

Forested Areas

Common locations: Labrador Nature Reserve, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Chestnut Nature Park

Singapore is a small island city-state with limited forested areas, but there are still some locations where you can find diverse bug populations.

Situated in the southern part of Singapore, Labrador Nature Reserve offers a mix of coastal habitats, secondary forests, and mangroves. The diverse environments here attract bugs such as butterflies, dragonflies, beetles, and spiders.

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is home to one of the few remaining patches of primary rainforest on the island. This rich ecosystem supports a wide variety of bugs, including butterflies, beetles, ants, spiders, and other insects.

Protective pro-tip: Stay on designated trails, and avoid disturbing or harming the bug species you encounter. 

23. Nature Parks and Reserves 

Nature Parks and Reserves

Common locations: West Coast Park, Pasir Ris Park, Jurong Lake Gardens

Singapore is known for its well-maintained public parks that offer green spaces for recreation and relaxation. While bug populations can vary, there are a few public parks in Singapore where you may find a diverse range of bugs.

Situated in the southwestern part of Singapore, West Coast Park is a spacious park with extensive green spaces, playgrounds, and recreational facilities. The park’s open areas and natural vegetation provide habitats for bugs such as butterflies, bees, and beetles.

Meanwhile, Pasir Ris Park offers a mix of coastal and woodland landscapes. The park’s diverse habitats attract bugs including butterflies, dragonflies, beetles, ants, and grasshoppers.

Protective pro-tip: Use mesh screens, netting, or umbrellas with bug-repellent coatings to create a designated bug-free area for your picnic at the park

Which bugs in Singapore are considered dangerous?

While most bugs in Singapore are harmless or even beneficial, there are a few that can be considered dangerous due to their ability to bite, sting, or transmit diseases. Mosquitoes are a given as well as other creepy crawlies that need to be avoided.

24. Centipedes


Critter characteristics: Elongated, segmented bodies, powerful jaws, long and thin legs

Where to find them: In forests, grasslands, deserts, and even in some human-made environments like basements or crawl spaces

Centipedes are not just your average creepy crawlies. These multi-legged marvels come in a variety of stylish colours, from elegant shades of brown and reddish-brown to daring yellows and blacks.

And let’s not forget their predatory prowess. They dine exclusively on their fellow small invertebrates, like insects, spiders, and worms.

Now, while centipedes can pack a punch with their bites, most species are harmless to us humans. Prevention is key when it comes to avoiding centipede bites, so keep your home clean, seal cracks and crevices, and remove clutter.

Important insect info: Some people may experience allergic reactions or more severe symptoms if bitten by certain species of centipedes.

25. Wasps 


Critter characteristics: Smooth and shiny exoskeleton, stingers near the abdomen, 

Where to find them: In wasp nests in trees, attics, eaves of buildings, or other sheltered locations.

Some wasps, such as yellow jackets and hornets, live in social colonies with a hierarchical structure consisting of a queen, workers, and males. Other species of wasps, like solitary wasps, live and hunt alone.

It’s important to note that while wasps play beneficial roles in pollination and pest control, some species can be aggressive and deliver painful stings. Unlike bees, wasps can sting multiple times without losing their stinger.

If you encounter a wasp nest or feel threatened by wasps, it’s best to exercise caution and seek professional assistance if necessary.

Important insect info: Many wasp species build nests using chewed wood fibres or mud. 

26. Asian Giant Hornets

Asian Giant Hornets

Critter characteristics: Can be up to 2 inches long, distinct colour pattern with a dark brown or black body and yellow-orange markings

Where to find them: Tree hollows, underground, forested areas

The Asian giant hornet is known for its aggressive behavior when its nest or territory is threatened. Scientifically known as Vespa mandarinia, it’s a fascinating insect that’s best avoided at all times.

They’re equipped with a potent venomous sting. Their stingers are longer and more powerful compared to other hornets and wasps, with venom that has powerful enzymes that can cause severe pain, tissue damage, and allergic reactions in humans.

It’s crucial to exercise caution and avoid disturbing their nests or provoking them.

Important insect info: They live in colonies and exhibit a hierarchical structure with a queen, workers, and soldiers.

27. Fire Ants

Fire Ants

Critter characteristics: 3 to 6 mm long, reddish-brown/black colouration, attacks in swarms

Where to find them: Inside soil mounds in open areas like lawns and parks

Fire ants need a wider berth compared to regular ants when you encounter them. Their stings are known to cause a sharp, burning sensation, hence their name. 

The venom they inject can cause localised allergic reactions, including redness, swelling, and the formation of pus-filled blisters. They’re highly aggressive, too—known for their hostile defence mechanisms. 

Fire ants are opportunistic feeders and have an omnivorous diet. They feed on a wide range of food sources, including small insects, seeds, fruits, plants, and even dead animals!

Important insect info:  Unlike many other ant species, fire ant colonies can have multiple queens. 

28. Dengue-causing Mosquitoes

Dengue-causing Mosquitoes

Critter characteristics: Active during daytime, dark-coloured body with white markings on legs

Where to find them: Breeds and lays eggs in man-made containers or natural water-holding sites such as flower pots, discarded tires, buckets, gutters, and other stagnant water sources

Unlike many other mosquito species that are more active during the evening and night, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are primarily active during the daytime, especially during early morning and late afternoon.

Dengue mosquitoes thrive in urban and suburban areas, particularly in densely populated regions. They prefer to feed on humans and typically bite multiple times during a single feeding session.

They primarily bite around exposed areas of the body, such as the ankles, feet, and lower legs. When a mosquito carrying the virus bites an infected person, it can then transmit the virus to other individuals it subsequently bites. 

This is how dengue fever can spread within communities.

Important insect info: To avoid being bitten, carry an effective mosquito repellent with you at all times when you’re outdoors.

What insects are approved in Singapore?

Some insects like silkworms and honeybees are approved in Singapore for reasons related to their potential benefits and contributions to the environment, agriculture, and food security. Some are even allowed to be kept as pets.

For instance, some types of insects are currently being looked into for introduction for human consumption! The Singapore Food Authority is primarily leading this research.

Other regulating bodies like the National Parks Board also have a say in which insects are allowed to thrive and contribute to Singapore’s biodiversity.

With regulatory processes, Singapore aims to promote innovation, diversify food sources, reduce ecological impact, and explore sustainable solutions using the following insects.

29. Silkworms


Approved for consumption by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) 

Critter characteristics: Cylindrical body covered in soft, fuzzy hair, ranges in colour from white to light yellow or green

Where to find them: In educational institutions, farms, and dedicated silk production facilities

One of the most remarkable traits of silkworms is their ability to produce silk. They spin silk threads from their specialised salivary glands to create protective cocoons in which they undergo the pupal stage. 

These cocoons consist of a single, continuous silk filament reaching up to 900 metres in length. Most cocoons are harvested before the silkworms transform into moths.

Although Singapore is not a major silk producer, the cultivation of silkworms and the production of silk have historical and cultural significance. The SFA has also recently announced that it will now allow the consumption of silkworm cocoons, scientifically known as Bombyx mori.

Plus, rearing silkworms can help students learn about the life cycle of insects, silk production, and the significance of traditional crafts.

Important insect info: Silkworms are voracious eaters and feed exclusively on the leaves of mulberry trees, which are their primary food source.

30. Honeybees

Approved by the National Parks Board for essential pollination

Critter characteristics: Bodies covered in fine hair, long tubular proboscis, communicate with each other by “dancing”

Where to find them: Singapore Botanic Gardens, tree-lined streets, urban gardens, farms, Bukit Timah Reserve

The National Parks Board of Singapore has had a special focus on the protection of honeybees that it launched a 5-year conservation approach back in 2018. It involves a community-wide effort to raise awareness among Singaporeans about the plight of honeybees.

Overall, honeybees have a positive impact on Singapore’s environment, agriculture, and biodiversity. In particular, honeybees are important pollinators that help fertilise flowers and facilitate the reproduction of plants.

They also contribute to the biodiversity of Singapore’s natural habitats by pollinating a wide range of native plants. Their presence helps maintain healthy ecosystems and supports the survival of other wildlife that rely on these plants for food and habitat.

Honeybees can serve as ambassadors for environmental conservation and raise awareness about the importance of pollinators. Learning about honeybees and their role in ecosystems can help inspire people to protect and preserve natural habitats.

Important insect info: The honeybee stinger is barbed, meaning it gets stuck in the skin upon stinging, causing the bee to die shortly afterwards.

31. Stick Insects

— From mimicry_iii

Approved by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) to be kept as pets

Critter characteristics: Long and slender bodies, often resembling sticks or twigs in shape and size, moves slowly to enhance camouflage

Where to find them: HortPark, Gardens by the Bay, Central Catchment Nature Reserve, community gardens

Ever wanted to keep insects as pets? You can start with the hardy stick insect, which is considered harmless and pose minimal risks to humans or the environment.

Stick insects have evolved remarkable camouflage abilities. They closely resemble twigs, branches, or leaves, allowing them to blend seamlessly into their natural surroundings. 

Stick insects contribute to the overall biodiversity of Singapore’s flora and fauna. Their presence adds to the variety of insect species found in the country, contributing to the ecological balance and functioning of ecosystems.

Some stick insect species are known to feed on flowers and nectar, inadvertently assisting in pollination. And their consumption by predators such as birds, reptiles, and spiders helps maintain the balance within the food chain.

Important insect info: Stick insects have the unique ability to regenerate lost body parts, including legs and antennae.

32. Ladybugs


Approved by the National Parks Board for a ladybird diversity project

Critter characteristics: Dome-shaped body, wing covers in bright red, orange, yellow, or black, 1 to 10 mm long

Where to find them: The Flower Dome, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, HortPark, urban and community gardens

Ladybugs are often regarded as symbols of good luck and fortune in many cultures. Their presence in Singapore brings positive connotations and is considered auspicious by some.

The presence of ladybugs indicates a healthy and thriving ecosystem, as they are part of the intricate food web and provide food for other organisms such as birds and spiders.

By feeding on pests, ladybugs help protect plants from damage caused by sap-sucking insects. This promotes the health and vitality of plants, leading to better crop yields, healthier gardens, and a more balanced ecosystem.

No wonder the National Parks Board launched a ladybird diversity project under its National Biodiversity Centre!

Important insect info: Ladybugs are voracious predators, primarily feeding on small insects such as aphids, mites, and scale insects. 

33. Praying Mantises

Praying Mantises

Approved as pets by the National Parks Board in compliance with the Code of Animal Welfare (for pets) 

Critter characteristics: Elongated and modified front legs that are adapted for capturing and gripping prey, folded hands in a praying position, can mimic the colours and shapes of leaves, twigs, or bark

Where to find them: Among vegetation, flowers, shrubs, natural water bodies, urban greenery

Praying mantises serve as natural allies in Singapore’s efforts towards sustainable pest management, ecological preservation, and education about the importance of biodiversity.

They’re voracious predators that primarily feed on insects, including pests such as flies, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, and aphids. If you want to keep one, you can – as long as you comply with the Code of Animal Welfare (for pet owners).

This helps control the population of potential pest species and prevent outbreaks that can disrupt the natural balance of the ecosystem.

Some species also visit flowers for nectar. As they move from flower to flower, they inadvertently assist in pollination, aiding in the reproduction of plants.

Important insect info: Praying mantises have a triangular-shaped head that can be rotated up to 180 degrees.