Carnivorous Plants/Small holes on plants
QUESTION: Hello Sarracenia Northwest, I'm here to ask a question about these unusual small holes I recently found on my king Henry flytraps. I grow my plants outside in full sun 6+ hours, have at least a inch of distilled water each day, I bought them from you a month ago. This issue just happened today at evening hours when I went to check up on them due to severe thunderstorms today. Though I'm sure it happened at nighttime. I had the same problem last season but did not think too much of it. Now that it's happening again, I would like to hear your input on it. These holes are only visible on the traps that have insects the plant has captured while the open traps remain untouched. Only 2 mature king Henry fly traps are showing these signs. I would really like to know what's munching on my plants and what I can do to prevent it. Oh I forgot one detail, I live in Northwest Arkansas.
ANSWER: Hi Alan,
When the trap re-opens that has the captured insect/holes look to see what kind of bug it caught. My guess is that it is something like a Weevil, Stinkbug, or Cucumber beetle. All of these are plant eating insects, and they are probably biting/piercing the leaf when captured. They are probably trying to unsuccessfully chew their way out before they are digested. Can't blame them.
Also, see if the damage is consistently in the same place on all affected traps. It could be something external, but it really looks like something trying to chew it's way out. If it continues, write us back here, and we'll see about some other possibilities and actions to take.
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QUESTION: I did some research myself and I found that some beetles do this. I peered into one of the traps and it had a ladybug on it. Also found what seems to be like a worm like insect on inside one of the traps. There was no insect on it only the worm. I'm assuming that's the leaf cutter but very well could be the black beetles I see once in a while on my plants. I have attached a photo of it.
Odd little pest on flytraps. I've never seen this here in the Northwest, but this should be easy to treat for. Since this is a caterpillar, you can treat with BT spray, which is organic and very safe. It's also very pest specific, and won't harm bees. You can also watch to see if some moth or butterfly is laying eggs on your plants and just prevent that. A systemic insecticide such as imidacloprid like is found in Bayer products will work too, but only use that if the flytraps are not in bloom. Here's a link to our insecticide podcast: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbRCdJ8ZNF0