Small Insect Tattoos And Their Meanings

Butterfly Forearm Tattoo @edenbodyartstudios

Being scared of creepy crawlies is one of the most common phobias. However, when you look a bit closer, you’re able to recognize their amazing qualities, such as the loyalty of bees and the artistry and perseverance shown by spiders. These traits have transformed into incredible symbolism, and as such insect designs are popular tattoo choices.

From colorful butterflies to the Egyptian scarab beetle, let’s dive into the meaning behind insect tattoos.  

Insect Leg Tattoo @selahjude

Butterfly Tattoos

Many cultures throughout history have associated deep meaning to butterflies, one ancient society being the Celtics. As Mind Body Green explains,

“Celtic mythology regards butterflies as a symbol of the soul. There’s an old Irish saying that goes ‘Butterflies are souls of the dead waiting to pass through Purgatory.’ They’re thought to be able to cross into other realms and also represent transformation, creation, and rebirth.” 

Butterflies can show people that going through a process of trial and change can lead to a beautiful result. 

Due to the powerful symbolism behind butterflies, butterfly tattoos are one of the most popular insects to get inked. 

Detailed Butterfly Tattoo @staydeadink

This tattoo choice is a good opportunity to go colorful. Custom Tattoo Design says,

“A blue butterfly tattoo design is typically a sign of good luck. Meanwhile, a yellow butterfly tattoo typically represents happiness. In Scotland and Ireland, a yellow butterfly near a grave is a sign of a soul that is at peace. And white butterflies are a symbol of purity and salvation, especially in Christianity.”

A tattoo of a butterfly works well as a tiny tattoo on the wrist, behind the ear or on the ankle, and can serve as a reminder to trust your path and have faith in the challenges you’re facing.

For more on butterfly tattoos, click here

Bee Tattoos

Bees have been a part of human cultures for centuries, partly due to their honey-making abilities. Even ancient civilizations such as the Sumerians and Babylonians made references to honey in their scripts. 

For honey bees to actually make honey, they have a rule-following society that’s very loyal to their queen. 

Bee Tattoo @jessicarebell

Due to their devoted and consistent nature, bee tattoos are often a representation of loyalty and family.

“[A] bee tattoo is also a symbol of unity and family. These tiny creatures stick together and have their own unique language through which they communicate. For that reason, a bee tattoo is suitable for a family-oriented person.,”

Saved Tattoo

A bee tattoo can also mean hard work and dedication – it takes a lot of time for a colony of bees to establish a hive, create a comb, and start producing honey.

“The tattoo featuring the bee also symbolizes hard work and sacrifice. You don’t have to be an expert to know the bees work hard and without them, our planet would not be the same.”

Saved Tattoo
Bee Hand Tattoo @ratcult

Honey bees are also a ​​matriarchal species, meaning that everyone answers to the queen. As such, a tattoo of a queen bee can mean feminine strength and power.

Spider Tattoos

While spiders are technically arachnids, let’s leave the technicalities of this arthropod behind and still go through its interesting symbolism. 

Spiders often get a bad wrap, and there are many people who aren’t too happy to see them crawling about in their homes. According to Anxiety House in Brisbane, arachnophobia (the fear of spiders) is the most common phobia. 

Spider Back Tattoos @mistermonster_

So, it’s quite interesting to note that the symbolism of spiders doesn’t include much negativity. According to UniGuide, spiders represent artistry, manifestation, patience, feminine power, ancient wisdom, illusion, balance, and interconnection.

This could have a lot to do with their webs. These creatures can weave the most intricate patterns to catch their prey – and they don’t just give up if their web gets knocked down. They carry on building. This type of perseverance and artistry should be commended. 

Spider Tattoo

When it comes to tattoos, spiders aren’t the most common of choices. 

However, if you are looking for tattoo inspiration for a design that symbolizes hard work and dedication (and you’re not afraid of spiders) this arachnid is a good starting point. 

Scarab Beetle Tattoos

The scarab beetle is another name for a dung beetle – an insect that spends a lot of it’s time dealing with faeces. So, why was it such a strong theme in ancient Egypt?

“This beetle was associated with the divine manifestation of the early morning sun, Khepri, whose name was written with the scarab hieroglyph and who was believed to roll the disk of the morning sun over the eastern horizon at daybreak,”

Antique Gold Scarab Tattoo @jooa_tattoo

The scarab beetle motif was popular in ancient Egypt for seals and amulets, many of which have survived. 

A tattoo of a scarab beetle can symbolize rebirth, growth, and the cycle of life. 

For more on Egyptian tattoos, click here

Cicada Tattoo

Just like the butterfly, cicadas are winged insects that go through a transformation – however, the cicadas’ metamorphosis is different as it contains no pupal state, and has been compared to a more human shift. 

Cicada Mania explains,

“They transform from one fully-functioning state (instar) to another – one viable form, in a small amount of time, changing to another. The cicada’s transformation is similar to that of human beings. If a person wants or needs to make a change in their life, they don’t enclose themselves in a pod and emerge the next spring (I suppose some might) – more likely they remain in their human form as they change.”

Cicada Tattoo @tattoo_art_lucia

Tattoo SEO points out that a cicada tattoo can also serve as a reminder of the timing of significant changes in life. This is because this insect seems to know exactly the right time to reproduce offspring: when the least predators are around.

“To elaborate on the timing symbolism, one might look to the cicada tattoo as a reminder to think about the timing of events in your life. Is this the right time to start a new job? Should I invest in this stock or sell? The symbol will not give you the answer, but it might make you more aware of the situation.”

A cicada works well as a delicate, black and grey tattoo – their patterned wings can be created with elegant, detailed fine lines.

Colorful Cicada Tattoo @brent_megens

Small insects can equal big symbolism. The world of insects can hold a lot of inspiration for your next tattoo design.

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