Do Venus Flytraps Eat Stink Bugs?

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Stink bugs can be real pests, and anyone looking for a natural way to get rid of them have probably asked the same question. Can Venus flytraps eat stink bugs and an efficient bug controller? The answer depends on several factors.

Venus flytraps will eat small stink bugs because they have nitrogen which the plant needs. A large stink bug could chew its way out of the trap, but the plant will survive and grow a new leaf.

Is it Safe to Feed Stink Bugs to Venus Flytraps?

If you go to online forums you have probably seen people say stink bugs are okay for Venus flytraps. But others claim it can kill the trap. Why the difference in opinions? Well it comes down to size.

Venus flytraps can eat stink bugs if they are small enough to fit in the trap. If the stink bug is too large, it will force its way out or rot will set in, killing the trap. Only the trap will die, the rest of the plant will not be affected.

If the stink bug fits in the trap, it will close over the bug entirely. If the insect is too large, its legs or other parts will stick out of the trap.

The plant will attempt to digest the bug. The parts trapped inside will be dissolved but those sticking out will rot. The decay could spread over the trap, causing it to turn brown and eventually die.

As long as the bug is small enough, there will not be any problems. And you can easily tell if the stink bug is too big because it will protrude from the trap.

If your Venus flytrap catches a large stink bug, there is not much you can do about it. In some cases it will not harm the trap, but usually this ends with the trap dying.

It takes days for a trap to digest an insect. If the bug is too large it could chew its way out in minutes. Or the trap could kill it but due to the size, the trap is unable to digest it.

The good news is it will not hurt the plant. Even if the trap dies, another one will spring up. But if your plant is indoors it is best to avoid feeding it large stink bugs. Or you can give your Venus flytrap Ranz Dried Mealorms so that its nutritional requirements are regularly met.

Why Venus Flytraps Need Stink Bugs

Carnivorous plants like flytraps eat stink bugs for the same reason they consume crickets: to get nitrogen. Bugs contain many beneficial nutrients, but nitrogen is the most important.

Nitrogen is essential because it is part of chlorophyll, a compound Venus flytraps use for photosynthesis. Photosynthesis allows plants to produce their own food.

The nitrogen in stink bugs also allow Venus flytraps to create amino acids and other nutrients. While bugs are not essential to their survival, it does help with growth and development.

Venus flytraps only grow in poor soil, so without bugs they will have a difficult time procuring nitrogen. The plant can still get some of it from the ground, but only in small amounts.

Without the nutrients provided by stink bugs and other insects, Venus flytraps will have a hard time growing. The plant will not die, but growth will slow.

Because bugs are rich in nitrogen they are the natural nutrient source of Venus flytraps. These are not food for the plant, but important supplements.

When Venus flytraps digest bugs, they use the nitrogen as growth fuel. Glucose is used to keep the plant alive while insect nutrients are used to fortify the plants. These two work hand in hand which is why they are important.

Aside from stink bugs, there are other nutrients you can give a Venus flytrap. Freeze dried mealworms are good because it provides the elements Venus flytraps need if they cannot feed on insects.

While stink bugs contain nutrients these can also be found in other insects like moths. So you do not have to feed stink bugs to your flytraps if you don’t want to.

If your Venus flytrap is indoors chances are it does not have access to stink bugs. You can give it other foods like these so it is not deprived of nutrition.

Can Venus Flytraps Eat Dead Stink Bugs?

It does not matter to a Venus flytrap if the bug is dead or alive as long as it has nitrogen. However it will only close the trap with enough stimuli.

Venus flytraps will eat living and dead insects including stink bugs. The only difference is you have to help the flytrap close its trap when feeding it a dead bug.

Each trap contains hair sensors. A stink bug has to trigger these twice within a 30 second span otherwise the trap will remain open.

You can make a Venus flytrap eat a dead stink bug by placing it in the trap. Then you just tap the sensors until it closes.

Aside from dead bugs you can also give it beta fish pellets which is a great alternative to dead bugs. It is less messy but just as beneficial to the plant.

Feeding dead bugs by hand is common for indoor Venus flytraps. They do not have access to as many insects if they were outdoors, so this practice is acceptable.

A Venus flytrap will only eat if it is healthy. One of the most important factors is the soil so you must only use the right potting media. We recommend Gardenera Potting Mix

There are a couple of things to keep in mind though. The first is to make sure the bug fits in the trap. If the trap is unable to close, then the insect is too large. Cut the stink bug into small pieces before putting it into the trap.

Second, do not feed Venus flytraps when they are in dormancy. These plants are going into something akin to hibernation so no nutrients required.

Venus flytraps shed their leaves during dormancy the plants look like they are dying. But they are not, so resist the urge to “save” it by feeding the traps.

Just be patient with the plant and wait until spring. When the plant comes back to life so to speak, you can start giving it dead stink bugs, spiders, slugs, crickets or other insects.

How Many Stink Bugs Can Venus Flytraps Eat?

Because Venus flytraps do eat stink bugs, can you use it as a natural pest controller? Maybe have it near the window or wherever the bugs show up and let the traps take care of it?

Venus flytraps only eat 3-5 insects a month, so it is not going to be an effective insect repellent. These plants can have anywhere from 5-20 traps simultaneously but usually only one trap eats at a time.

Since each trap takes up one to two weeks to digest a bug, it can only eat a limited number. And that is understandable since Venus flytraps are not supposed to be insect controllers anyway.

Carnivorous plants consume insects because they need to, and they will only take what they require. If you have an infestation with lots of bugs, Venus flytraps will not be much of a help since they can only eat a few each month.

And the other thing we pointed out is that Venus flytraps can only digest small bugs. This is why they usually do not eat cockroaches because those are too large, and the same with stink bugs.

Some of these bugs are small enough for the traps but others are not. And in an infestation where you will have stink bugs of varying sizes, Venus flytraps are not gong to be sufficient.

If you have stink bug infestation problems, get an insecticide or call for a pest control expert. That will be a more effective solution than Venus flytraps, and it is just as safe. In the meantime, just let your flytraps be without turning them into pest controllers.


Because of the way Venus flytraps are portrayed in movies, some have assumed these plants can eat several stink bugs simultaneously .In fact, they only consume a small amount and only if they are small enough to fit in the trap.