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When in comes to Venus flytrap food, the most commonly talked about and given are spiders, flies and even ants. But what about moths? Should you let your flytrap eat one of these insects? Or is it better if your plant avoid this winged insect?
Venus flytraps can only eat small moths. Some traps die when they consume this insect, but the plant will be fine if it manages to absorb the nitrogen. If the plant is healthy a new trap will replace the dead one.
What Happens When Venus Flytraps Eat Moths?
A lot of it will depend on the size of the moth and how healthy the Venus flytrap is. But generally these bugs do not harm Venus flytraps.
If the moth is small enough to fit in the trap, the plant will attempt to digest it. If the moth is too large the trap will not be able to close at all and the bug can just fly off.
Assuming the flytrap is able to digest the moth, it will absorb the tissues including nitrogen. In some cases this could kill the trap. But a new one will take its place and this will not harm the plant. As long as your Venus flytrap is healthy, it will replace dead traps with new ones.
If you see a partially closed trap turning black, it is probably trying to eat a large moth. Traps have to be fully closed before the plant releases digestive enzymes. In some cases the trap does shut but parts of the moth will stick out.
Most of the time however, Venus flytraps will not attempt to eat large bugs. If they do it will almost certainly kill the trap. But this will not harm the plant in general.
Even if the trap dies off, a new one will replace it. The key is to make sure the plant is not sick so that it can replace traps if one withers.
If your Venus flytrap is outdoors there is nothing much you can do to prevent it from eating moths. One way is to put the plant indoors, but if it is in good health, new traps will appear soon enough.
If your Venus flytrap is indoors you have more control over what it eats. Thee is less chance of moths getting lured into the trap, but make sure the plant still gets fed. Apart from bugs you can provide other sources of nutrients such as TetraPond Fish Food for your plant.
Why Do Venus Flytraps Eat Moths?
Venus flytraps can only grow in soil with minimal nutrients. This is in direct contrast with non-carnivorous plants which require rich, fertilized soil.
Venus flytraps and other carnivorous plants eat insects like moths out of their need for nutrients. Carnivorous plants in particular are good examples of how natural evolution can lead to survival.
To make up for the lack soil nutrients, Venus flytraps developed scents to lure insects and traps to catch them. Moths, spiders, flies and other bugs possess nitrogen, potassium and other elements usually found in rich soil.
When a Venus flytrap captures a moth, it produces an enzyme to dissolve its tissues. This allows the plant to extract these nutrients..
Nitrogen and other elements are the growth fuel for carnivorous plants. These are not essential for Venus flytraps to live, but you should provide them if you want to see bigger flytraps.
The nutrients Venus flytraps receive from insects is combined with glucose to keep the leaves, roots and traps alive. Plants – carnivorous or otherwise – that receive these two are going to live longer than those that do not.
Moths have the same elements that other insects do. Whether your Venus flytrap eats a moth, spider or fly, it will receive those important nutrients. One potential problem though is that some flytraps might find moths harder to eat because of their wings and size.
As long as the moth is an inch or less, Venus flytraps will have no trouble catching them. Problems only come up if the trap tries to bite off something more than it can chew. It does help if you grow the plant in the right soil, so you should only use products like Gardenera Potting Mix,
You are not limited to moths or any insects. Cultivators regularly give their Venus flytrap freeze dried foods like mealworms without any side effects. These foods offer the same benefits as moths without the risk, so no wonder many people choose them.
Can Venus Flytraps Eat Multiple Moths Simultaneously?
There is debate on whether Venus flytraps can be overfed or not, but it is better to err on the side of caution.
Venus flytraps should only eat one bug at a time, including moths. Luring, trapping and digesting insects consumes a lot of its resources. If you give it two or more moths, the traps will close. But it probably will not have enough strength to dissolve them.
Digesting a moth is a complex process. It starts with the flytrap drawing an insect with nectar. When the insect drops onto the trap and the hair sensors are triggered two times, the trap closes in on the prey.
When the trap is completely closed, the plant releases digestive fluids to consume the insect. Only the soft parts can be eaten, so its hard shell will be left behind.
It can take a couple of weeks for a Venus flytrap to digest one bug. That is why it can only eat 3-5 of these each month.
If your flytrap has already eaten a moth, do not expect the trap to open for another week or two. Resist the urge to force feed the other traps as the plant’s energies are focused on digesting.
Some Venus flytraps might be able to handle two moths, but that is rare. It is better to be careful and not over exert its resources. Venus flytraps are also weakened by flowering so you should cut off long flowering stems immediately
While bugs provide nutrients, feeding too many might mean more energy goes out than comes in, and that could have a serious effect on the health of the plant overall.
Can Venus Flytraps Eat Dead Moths?
You can feed dead moths to Venus flytraps, but make sure the trap is not filled to the brim. The rule of thumb is the food should be one third the size of the trap.
Feeding dead moths to Venus flytraps is no different from giving it other foods. First you have to make certain the moth is small. Each trap is usually 1 to 1.5 inches long so anything more than that is not recommended.
One solution is to cut the bug into small bits. If you have a large dead moth, you can simply cut it with a knife and drop them into the trap. You can do this with other bugs too.
This is the only safe method to feed large insects to Venus flytraps. Rather than risk killing a trap, you can just give it several pieces of dead moth (or any bug provided it does not have a hard shell) and your flytrap will have no trouble digesting it.
There is debate whether Venus flytraps have consciousness, but one thing we can say for certain is the plant digests living and dead bugs. However it does need assistance with the latter.
Venus flytraps will only trap a prey if it sets off the hair sensors two times within 30 seconds. If it does not, the bug gets away.
This is how Venus flytraps are able to tell the difference between living things and inanimate objects. This is critical because each trap can only work 5 times before it dies, so the plant must make full use of its energy.
Be careful not to set off the sensors while you are still putting the food in. Once the trap closes it will not open until the bug is fully digested.
As you can see when it comes to Venus flytrap food, it comes down to size. If the bug is small enough, the plant will try to digest it. In the case of moths, it depends on the plant, but most should be fine. Of course you should always keep an eye on your Venus flytrap to know for sure.
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.