You are here:

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

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Sarracenia Northwest


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.

Before submitting your question, please read their care guides on their main website. Many issues can be addressed by simply adjusting your growing conditions as recommended in the care guides. Click here to read the care guides.

Over 9,000 questions answered since 2005!


Jeff and Jacob are owners and growers of Sarracenia Northwest. They've been in business since 1995. Watch their professionally produced DVDs, Grow Carnivorous Plants. It is a three-volume set that covers all aspects of carnivorous plant care. They literally show you how to be a successful grower!


No terrariums. No myths. No nonsense.
Just the straight facts from guys who grow and propagate
thousands of carnivorous plants each year.

Our focus is to help help growers diagnose a specific plant problem and offer solutions. For example:
  • Why is my sundew not producing dew?
  • Is now a good time to divide my Sarracenia?
  • Why are the traps turning black?
  • What's a good substitute for perlite?
  • Why didn't my seeds germinate?
  • How do you deal with pests?
  • Can you identify this carnivorous plant for me?
We no longer answer general, how-to questions that are already posted on our website or demonstrated in our DVDs. For general plant care, please read our care guides:

For business questions:

Youtube Facebook
Follow us on Youtube and Facebook!

©2017 All rights reserved.