Carnivorous Plants/cephalotus

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Question
I have a Cephalotus plant , bought from you, about 4-yrs. old,it's in a pot on the ledge of a east window, I live in Mich. the Detroit area. The plant has always been doing great. But I looked at it the other day and and the hoods of about four of the pitchers have been eaten off. Only the hoods were eaten.

    Now it looks like every thing is ok, and 4-days latter nothing else has happened.
1. What kind of bug do you think this was ?
2.  If every thing stays ok, should I take any action ?
3.  If I do use a insecticide, what type should I use, and how do I apply it ?

         Thank you,   Ken

Answer
First, congratulations for growing a Cephalotus for four years!  

It's very difficult to determine what critter ate your plant based on your information alone.  The only thing I can say is that it's not a small critter, like an aphid or thrip.  It's something a bit larger, like a caterpillar or an insect the size of a grasshopper.  It could also be a slug or snail.  Since we don't know what it is, we don't know what would be the most effective measure to take to prevent this from happening again.  

The only thing I can recommend is to examine your plant closely.  Look between the leaves and stems.  See if you can find a critter hiding somewhere in the plant itself.  Look inside the pitchers too.  I've seen slugs inside pitchers before.  If you don't find anything, the critter may have moved on, so you might want to check your other plants nearby.

You can spray your plant with a systemic insecticide as a precaution.  This is really a judgement call on your part.  It won't hurt the plant, but I prefer to spray only if I know I'm dealing with an insect and not a slug or snail.  If you choose to use a systemic insecticide, follow the recommendations outlined in our video podcast.
http://youtu.be/lbRCdJ8ZNF0

If you choose to not to spray, that's fine too.  You'll just need to monitor your plant daily to see if you see any changes from one day to the next.  Check the plant both in the morning and early evening.  Some critters will come out at only certain times of the day.  As long as the only change you see are hoods disappearing, your plant will be fine.  Look for new pitchers in the coming months to replace the pitchers with missing hoods.

Good growing!
Jacob Farin

Carnivorous Plants

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