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Venus flytraps are primarily known for eating all kinds of insects. Flies, spiders, ants you name it. So the next question that usually comes up is whether they can digest crickets. As you will see, this is actually a pretty interesting topic and the answer depends on the situation.
Venus flytraps eat crickets because they are rich in nutrients that promote growth and development, similar to how humans benefit from supplements. Crickets are not necessary for these plants to survive, but it helps them produce bigger traps.
Why Do Venus Flytraps Eat Crickets?
Venus flytraps consume crickets because they contain nutrients the plant cannot obtain in the soil. These nutrients fuel the growth of Venus flytraps and make them stronger and healthier.
Venus flytraps in the wild are found in North and South Carolina, and only in nutrient poor ground. Soil provides nutrients for plants including nitrogen, potassium and more. Flytraps need these but since it cannot be found in the soil, they look elsewhere.
Venus flytraps and other carnivorous plants started consuming bugs so they can avail of these nutrients. Note that bugs do not serve as their food. Venus flytraps use photosynthesis to produce glucose, a simple type of sugar that serves as its main fuel.
Crickets, spiders, gnats and other bugs are used to augment their food intake. These plants do not digest stuff the way animals do, but they serve the same purpose.
To keep it simple: Venus flytraps produce glucose, which is the food that keeps them alive. Then they consume crickets and other bugs as supplements. Venus flytraps will not die if they do not eat bugs, but it will slow their growth.
Crickets are staples in the Venus flytrap diet because one, it is easy to catch, and second, contains nitrogen. A lot of insects are good for plants, but crickets in particular have the nutrients that Venus flytrap needs.
Unlike cockroaches and ants, the shell of a cricket is not as rigid. This makes it easier for a Venus flytrap to digest the bug and extract its nutrients.
When it comes to Venus flytrap food, most people think of flies first followed by spiders. But crickets are good options too, and if you see the plants in the wild, crickets are standard fare in their diet. And you should include it for your plant too. Our suggestion is Fluker’s Freeze Dried Crickets as long as you cut it into small bits suitable for a Venus flytrap.
How Many Crickets Can a Venus Flytrap Eat?
Venus flytraps do not have to eat a lot of insects. They also need time to digest each one so do not be surprised if your plant is not active as you might have expected.
Venus flytraps usually consume 2-5 bugs a month. Each trap takes 1 to 2 weeks to digest, so if it catches a cricket today, it does not have to feed for another week or two.
As living organisms, Venus flytraps have developed a sophisticated means to survive. Non-carnivorous plants cannot live in the soil that Venus flytraps do, so these plants turned to insect meat to survive.
One of the most common mistakes new Venus flytrap owners make is feed the traps too much. in truth, only one trap needs to feed at any point.
When a Venus flytrap catches a cricket, it uses so much energy that it cannot photosynthesize. This is a good risk reward ratio though because the plant receives nutrients.
But if you feed multiple traps, the plant might not have energy to process it. Each trap might take two weeks to digest a stink bug, so feeding multiple traps can cause problems.
Venus flytraps in the growing stage will benefit from a lot of nutrients. In this case you might get away feeding two traps at a time. However you should limit it to just one trap once the plant matures.
Do not feed crickets or any food to Venus flytraps during dormancy. The plant looks dead during this stage, but that is normal. The leaves and traps will reemerge during spring.
So if your flytrap only catches one or two crickets a month, that is okay. If your plant is indoors and with no crickets in sight, you can give them freeze dried mealworms. These have been specially formulated so that it provides the same elements that crickets and other bugs do.
What Happens When Venus Flytraps Eat Crickets?
The Venus flytrap is a great example of how the need to survive forces an organism to evolve. Luring, catching and eating bugs is a complex process, but the following is a simplified explanation.
Venus flytraps catch crickets the same way they do with spiders and other bugs. The plant starts by secreting a scent that insects find irresistible.
The scent is located in the trap, so when a bug steps in its sensors can be triggered anytime. For the trap to shut, the prey – in this case a cricket – has to touch the hair triggers twice. These hairs are the straight filaments you can see on the lobes.
If the cricket touches the sensor, it sends an electrical signal to the rest of the plant to close its trap. If the bug does not set the hair sensors off again in 30 seconds or less, the trap will remain open.
A Venus flytrap only closes if it receives two triggers. This means potential prey can escape, but it is necessary to avoid false alarms.
Imagine if the trap goes off whenever something touches the sensors, like a rock, a leaf, or other inedible object. The trap would lose and waste energy trying to digest something it cannot.
Each trap can only close up to 5 times or so before it dies and is replaced by a new one. So it is important Venus flytraps conserve energy as much as possible.
But if the sensors are triggered twice, the trap shuts immediately. It takes less than a second for the trap to lock in so the cricket cannot escape.
The more the cricket struggles to get out the more sensors are triggered. This tells the Venus flytrap the object is alive and likely has nutrients.
Can Venus Flytraps Eat Freeze Dried Crickets?
Venus flytraps can eat freeze dried crickets and other dead bugs. You only need to feed one trap once or twice a week.
There are many freeze dried crickets available, but make sure it is high quality and that it contains the nutrients Venus flytraps need. Once you have the crickets, you just put some in the trap and tap the hair sensors so it shuts.
This assumes your Venus flytrap is healthy enough to eat. If it is not eating, make sure the soil is suited for carnivorous plant. We like Rio Hamza Trading Soil Mix because it works not just with Venus flytraps but other carnivorous plants.
Do not fill the leaves with dead crickets. Make sure the trap can fully close otherwise the plant will not release any digestive enzymes.
Once the trap shuts, just leave the Venus flytrap alone. It might take a week or two to digest the cricket depending on the size.
When the trap has eaten the bug, it will open again. You will see some digestive fluids remaining and maybe leftover cricket bits. You can feed the trap again once it has reopened. Remember only one trap has to be given food.
If you want to feed it other dead bugs, cut them into small bits so they fit in the trap. This keeps the plant from exerting too much energy to dissolve its prey.
If your Venus flytrap is outdoors you should not feed it any freeze dried crickets. There should be enough bugs out there it will catch.
The important thing to keep in mind is that these are not food for survival. For that Venus flytraps need sunlight, water and air to do photosynthesis. So if your plant is outdoors, position it somewhere direct sunlight is accessible.
These plants need to get plenty of water too, though be careful not to overwater it. The bugs are a nice addition to their diet and will stimulate its growth even more.
Crickets count among the favorite meals of Venus flytraps, as it is easy to digest and contains the nutrients the plant needs. Whether they get live crickets or the freeze dried version, both are good and will provide the sustenance they require.
My fascination with carnivorous plants began many, many years ago with Venus Fly Traps. Now I am more than happy to impart what I know with other enthusiasts and those who are curious about meat eating plants.