Re: defunct drosera, hungry Nepenthes

Steven Klitzing (
Mon, 12 Jun 1995 15:09:00 -0700

Hi all:

I am feeding my Nepenthes anything I can catch. Since it is nearly summer,
lots of bugs are getting into the house, particularly when my wife brings in
roses and other flowers from the garden. This means I end up with lots of
little smashed critters like earwigs, bean beetles, and spiders. I also
catch stink bugs and sow bugs in the compost heap. The Nepenthes love
earwigs, bean beetles, and stink bugs. Apparently there's lots of protein
there. The sow bugs are not as nutritious as the former, but they do provide
a hefty snack. Spiders are low forms of nutrition as their bodies are not
bulky, so they end up on the Drosera plants. When the Nepenthes pitchers
are small, you can't stuff any of these critters into the traps, so you
have to cut them into smaller pieces with a hobby knife and stuff them
into the traps with a toothpick. As the new traps get bigger, you no
longer have to divide the smashed insects and you can drop them in whole.
You have to be careful when putting insects inside the traps. Sometimes
there isn't enough digestive fluid inside, so it's good to add a little
water with an eyedropper or a mild spray from a spray bottle. Also, stuffing
a large chunk of insect down a small trap opening may damage the trap a
little and cause the trap to brown or blacken later on from the top first.
As these insects will never be endangered, I don't worry about hunting them
or making them expire to feed the plants. In the greenhouse, there isn't
enough bug life to feed all the traps, especially when your rooted Nepenthes
cuttings are young, so you have to import insects. It gets kind of grim
smashing insects, but then again you are at least recycling the insect life
and converting it into plant life. Having your plants in a humidity tent
or box also requires you to bring in insects.