Carnivorous Plants/Insect Problem


QUESTION: There seems to be these leaf cutting insects that like to eat the pitchers on my Heliamphora.  I've sprayed with Ortho once a week, and it doesn't seem to kill them.  Should I spray more often, or is there something better to use?  I see them a little on my Nepenthes, but not as much as on the Heliamphora.

ANSWER: Hi John,

You might get a hand-lens and see if you can actually see the pest causing this.  That will help in determining a course of action.  I can't see the the insect damage you're talking about very well.  I see the brown spots, but those spots just look like some simple physical damage.  One possibility is that you have a baby slug cruising around taking bites out of stuff.  They can hide very well, and the eggs can be present in soil, so it's easy to bring them in unexpectedly.  We fight this significantly in the winter.  If you do suspect slugs, try putting a tiny amount of slug bait on a little piece of card stock or an old plastic plant tag on the soil surface.  (Don't put it right on the soil.)  We have to do this all the time for our Mexican butterworts in the winter.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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Insect line
Insect line  
QUESTION: Here is a better photo.  It was hard getting my phone to focus.

Hi John,

If it's the leaf closest to the lava lamp, it looks like you may have a leaf-miner.  I've never seen these attack pitcher plants of any kind, but a systemic insecticide should work.  If you've been using Ortho (Orthene or Ortho Systemic (acephate)), and it's not working, you might try Bayer Rose and Flower insect killer.  It has imidacloprid and has been very effective for us.  It's very safe on CP, and Heliamphoras are not that sensitive.  One application should do it.  You can also get imidacloprid in Bonide houseplant soil insecticide.  This is a granular product you mix in the top layer of soil, water, then the product is absorbed into the leaves.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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If your carnivorous plant is showing poor growth, discoloration, abnormal leaves or possible infestation, the expert growers at Sarracenia Northwest can help! They have a great depth of experience dealing with diseases, pathogens, and abnormal growth in carnivorous plants.

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