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Carnivorous Plants/Nepenthes- Can they eat too many bugs?


Hi, I have three varieties of nepenthes growing inside my house.  My plants are doing fine. But my question is, I have ants in my house.  The ants are going into the pitchers and being eaten by the plants.  I can see the dead ants in the pitchers.  I was wondering if there is a point that perhaps eating too many ants will be bad for the plants as they may be wasting too much energy digesting the ants? Or is there no such thing as overfeeding them as long as it's natural? (I am trying to get rid of the ants but they are stubborn.)


Hi Kerry,

Nepenthes have the ability to regulate the amount of nectar they produce to attract insects.  The production also tends to slow down as the pitcher ages.  Those factors will eventually cause them to stop attracting the ants.  It's really not a concern.  They can have quite a bit of insect matter in the pitchers and still digest it.

What can happen is if they have lots of captures you can start getting a slight odor from the pitchers.  Usually it's not noticeable, but it can happen. Overall if your plants are catching that many bugs, it's a good problem to have.  It means they are nice and healthy!

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

Carnivorous Plants

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