For a long time it was more shocking for women to be tattooed than men, and even then, women were “supposed” to have a more dainty design. A rose on the hip or a butterfly on the ankle are considered either classics for women’s tattoos, or they are thought of as having been done to death. If you feel that the idea of getting a tattoo is “bugging” you, try considering an insect tattoo.
Insect tattoos can be drawn almost any way you’d like. They can be rendered as tribal designs, or copied photo realistically from books or specimens. You can combine features from more than one bug to make a creature that is unique to you. They can be fierce symbols of protection, brightly colored cartoons or personal images of healing. One of the best ways to research insect tattoos is to go to the library and go through the section of children’s books. Those books are often full of large, color images of the various insects and are good for a tattooist to use as a reference or inspiration.
Ants - This tiny creatures are associated with hard work, orderliness, perseverance, self-discipline and community. They can be tattooed by themselves, or as a trail wandering across the body.
Beetles - There are thousands of species to choose from. Often beetles have interesting antennae, metallic shells or are winged.
Bees - For women wanting a powerful image, the queen bee can be it. She is the lone female who runs an organized and industrious community. The Egyptians thought that honey bees were tears of the sun god Ra.
Butterflies - This symbol continues to be popular for tattoo designs due to the symbolism of metamorphosis and change. Caterpillars change from worms to beautiful winged creatures and many people use this image to mark changes in their lives. They can be rendered fantastical, or highly realistic, large or small. See Butterfly Tattoo Designs for more info.
Dragonflies - This elegant insects are popular tattoo images due to their colorful appearances and unique shape. In Native American mythology, they are messengers between humans and the gods.
Fireflies - The firefly is able to light up and is often associated with seeking or illumination.
Grasshoppers - The grasshopper is sometimes symbolic of nobility or wisdom.
Ladybugs - This beneficial garden insect is a lighthearted and fun design. They are sometimes viewed as a symbol of good luck, with the brighter red color being luckier. These can be tattooed singularly, in groups or alongside floral elements. How many spots would you like yours to have?
Moths - These carry a similar symbolism as butterflies, but are both more subtle and more mysterious. The Greek goddess Psyche was represented by a moth. The paler colors of many species make them popular for a subtle design.
Praying Mantis - This larger garden insect is sometimes viewed as “praying” (holding it’s front legs in a position of prayer) and other times as “preying” (stalking, attacking).
Scarabs - This beetle was particularly significant to the Egyptians and it’s behavior of rolling a ball of dung was associated with the sun god Ra moving through the sky.
Scorpion - This aggressive insect has many associations including wisdom and self-destruction. This creature is also one of the signs of the Western zodiac.
Spiders - Many species and cultural interpretations have made this insect and its webs a staple of tattooing. These insects are viewed as weavers/creators and tricksters.
Wasps - also known as hornets or yellow jackets. These fierce insects are viewed as symbolic of female warrior energy and communal living.
If you're looking for tattoo designs or ideas, you might like
500 Tattoo Designs
by Henry Ferguson
The Sketchbook: 80 Unique Designs by the World's Finest Tattoo Artists
by Nancy Heimburger and Marco Bratt