top of page
  • Writer's pictureJonathan Stoddard

Carnivorous Plants That Can Help with Pest Control

carnivorous plant eating a fly

When we think about pest management, we typically believe immediately of insecticides, jars full of liquids, and strips of paper hung from ceilings. It is surprising how few people realize that there are natural plants that you can buy to keep things under control.

It is impossible to look at these fantastic plants without being captivated by their beauty and uniqueness. While these plants may not eliminate your problem, they will significantly impact how you feel about it. This is in addition to assisting you in maintaining pest control in and around your home with a licensed local pest control company.

To assist you in getting started on your carnivorous plant journey, we have put together this resource guide.

What exactly are carnivorous plants, and how do they function?

In terms of how they work, all of these plants have three common characteristics:

  1. They all catch and kill their prey

  2. They are all capable of digesting their prey.

  3. They obtain all of their nutritional requirements from the bugs and creatures they consume.

Carnivorous plants can swallow anything smaller than a mouse, depending on their size. They are entirely reliant on the nutrients gathered and digested by their prey to stay alive.

They take absolutely nothing from the soil and earth in which they live. It serves just as an operating base for these one-of-a-kind plants.

What role do carnivorous plants play in the control of pests?

Carnivorous plants can be grown in greenhouses to deter pests from invading your beautiful landscape. Additionally, they work well on kitchen window sills if you get the occasional fly that wants to bother you.

Plants of the size of snails or slugs will most likely not grow to be large enough to consume them if they are grown in your garden. The nectar they produce exclusively attracts bugs attracted to sweet, sugary foods like honey. In other words, flies, butterflies, moths, and so forth. They will be ineffective against mosquitoes and other pests not drawn to sweet foods and beverages.

Pest elimination resources based on carnivorous plants cannot be relied upon as a critical source for pest elimination. They can be used as an additional or preventative strategy to bring a situation under control. These may solve your problem of the occasional annoying fly here and there causing you irritation and discomfort. In the case of a massive problem, though, these will almost certainly not be the solutions you are seeking.

What kind of food do carnivorous plants consume?

These pest control workers do not have to consume much food. Photosynthesis is essential for them to obtain the nutrients from the earth that other plants get from their surroundings.

Carnivorous plants do not require as much fertilizer as other plants, and they do not need it as frequently. Aside from that, it can take them weeks or months to consume their prey. It is similar to a slow-release fertilizer in that it releases nutrients gradually.

They can't catch another bug with the same trap during the digesting time once they have caught one with that trap. They can, however, catch more bugs by putting another trap in place.

What kinds of traps might you expect to find?

All of these plants eventually take their food by consuming their nectar, which has a variety of lovely colors, and their digestive juice. However, there are various techniques by which this plant species captures its prey.

The following are the many types of bug traps and how they work:

1. Pitfall Traps: These plants are distinguished by their long, pitcher-like leaves with liquid accumulating at the bottom of their pitchers. The insect falls into or flies into the liquid, becoming trapped.

2. Snap traps: These plants use fast leaf movement to shut in on their victim, causing them to die.

3. Flypaper traps: These traps function similarly to conventional flypaper. Whenever something lands on their leaves, they become stuck due to the nectar that covers their leaves.

4. Bladder traps: These plants contain little bladders beneath the water's surface that produce vacuums within them. Once activated, a tiny door on the bladder opens, allowing any prey to be sucked instantaneously.

5. Lobster traps: They have leaves that have evolved into a Y form, making it easy for prey to get inside the trap but incredibly difficult to get over it.

5 of the most effective carnivorous starting plants

The meat-eating plant world is vast, and there are hundreds of species to choose from. Garden centers carry a wide variety of these, all of which are excellent for beginning gardeners. However, some of the more common beginning plants are listed here.

1. Venus Flytrap – (Dionaea muscipula)

Venus fly trap

The Venus Flytrap belongs to a single genus of plants, and there are only one species of the plant. There is evidence that it originated in North and South Carolina in the United States. The majority of the types that are currently available are grown cultivars.

Its traps consist of an upper and lower leaf with long thorns on the margins and an upper and lower leaf without bristles. On the inside of the top and bottom leaves, three red sessile glands serve as feelers.

For Venus Flytraps to work, they must first lure their prey by releasing natural nectar. A plant's internal clock begins to tick when something settles on it and makes contact with the sessile glands on its surface. If something is still in contact with them after the expiration, the plant will snap shut. The insects are prevented from fleeing due to staggering bristles on leaves' edges.

If the plant believes that it will receive enough nutrients from its capture, you will notice that the margins of the leaves begin to seal shut at the edges. Glands on the inner wall of the clip begin to produce digestive fluids as soon as the clip is fully closed.

Once the insects have been digested and absorbed, the bug trap is opened again. The wind and rain carry the leftover indigestible insect exoskeletons, allowing a new round of "hunting" to begin.

2. Nepenthes (Pitcher Plant)

pitcher plant

This species can be found in its natural habitat, predominantly in the Malay Archipelagos. A champagne flute-shaped trap is formed by long, twisting tendrils that fall from a flowering plant's base and curve up into a trap that looks like a champagne flute. They can reach up to 20 inches and spread out to 10 inches. Because of this, it is the ideal trap for insects and other small animals.

An animal can easily slip and fall into the Pitcher Plant's bottle-shaped body, which is located on the plant's uppermost branch. Furthermore, the towering, smooth, and waxy walls make it nearly impossible for anything to climb out of the cave. The nectar in the bottom of the pitcher ensures that anything that might fly out is firmly anchored in place.

As a means of execution, this plant employs drowning as a strategy. Once the nutrients in the body are available, they are gradually digested and absorbed by the plant through glands in the bottom section of the plant's stem. Digestion might take anything from a week to two months to complete.

3. Sundew – (Drosera)

Sundew Plant

Drosera is a gorgeous perennial flower that has been known to live for up to 50 years under good conditions. The majority of natural species can be found in Australia; however, they can also be found worldwide, from northern Alaska to southern New Zealand.

It has long, thin leaves that spread out like the plant like a fern. Each leaf is coated in microscopic hairs that create sticky nectar that is incredibly sticky to the touch. Insects will arrive on these leaves in search of food and become entangled. They fall victim to fatigue or suffocation due to the plant nectar drowning them.

In due course, the leaf will bundle itself up around the beetle and release an enzyme that will decompose its target completely. That makes it possible for it to be absorbed through the leaves. It may take several weeks for the animal to digest its diet completely. When it is finished eating, it rolls back out into the open to continue hunting.

Once established, you will determine whether these have been underwatered since they will not produce honey at the ends of the hairs. On most occasions, when you obtain one of these plants, there will be no nectar on the leaves. All that is needed is for your plant to be readjusted and given time to settle.

4. Trumpet Pitchers - (Sarracenia)

Carnivorous plant Sarracenia or Trumpet Pitchers

Sarracenia is a genus that contains between 8 and 11 species of Pitcher Plants native to North America. Trumpet Pitchers are a more formal term for this type of pitcher. In comparison to Pitcher Plants, the fundamental distinction between these and Nepenthes is that, whereas the Nepenthes cascades, this plant shoots straight up from the ground.

This plant captures its victim through lures and the inability to flee. These creatures' tube-like bodies are covered with tiny downward-facing hairs at the bottom. They contain a waxy material that naturally coats the inside walls of their bodies, making them slippery.

Once the prey has been captured, it falls victim to the liquids in the plant's base and is soon consumed by the nectar that has been released. It can take anything from a week to two months for digestion to occur. In contrast to the Venus Flytrap, the exoskeletons and other parts and pieces left behind are not swept away by the wind. They will continue to fill the tube during the summer months.

5. Butterworth (Pinguicula)

butterwort carnivorous plant

'Butterwort' is a carnivorous plant species found in the Butterwort family. Mexico is the primary location where this plant may be found growing organically.

These plants can develop stunning rosettes with leaves up to 3 3/4 inches long. It permits the plant to withstand the hibernation of the winter season. Around October, this plant's wide, flat leaves will be replaced by luscious winter leaves, which will look similar to those of a succulent plant.

Like flypaper, this plant coats its leaves with tiny droplets of nectar, which attracts insects. When the victim lands on a leaf, the plant reacts to the movement by pouring out extra nectar and digestive enzymes to compensate. Afterward, their prey is assimilated by the plant.

It can take a few weeks to several months for these plants to digest. In addition, once a single spot on a leaf takes prey, the leaf can no longer capture more.

What is the best way to care for my carnivorous plant?

For plants to thrive, they must rely on the photosynthesis of chlorophyll to make nutrition for them. That means that they require soil that contains little or no nutrients, fertilizer, or acid. On the other hand, these plants can prey on small insects and creatures to obtain nutrition.

Suppose you want to use distilled water only for them. In that case, it is recommended because the water is coming from your tap, no matter how gentle, maybe excessively harsh.

It is preferable to drill holes in the bottom of your plant container to allow excess water to drain away and will enable the plant to draw up the water it requires from runoff water. Never let the soil surrounding the plants become fully dry. You can maintain these plants in a tray filled with no more than 3/4 inches of distilled water to ensure that they remain moist at all times. If you leave them in any more profound than this, they may cause damage to the roots.

I also propose that you expose yourself to bright sunlight. I would suggest something straightforward or simply ensuring that they get enough sunlight placed in the garden. I maintained everything on a shelf with a grow light above them that I purchased for a reasonable price. It was effortless to maintain.

One final consideration in the care of your plant is to ensure that it is well fed. If they do not capture enough in the area around your home or land, they will be hungry soon after.

Alternatively, you can feed them some little fish flakes by sprinkling them into the trap and setting it off if necessary. The best thing is that if you provide for them this way, your plants will bloom because they will be happy, the color of your blossoms will change to match the food you are feeding them.

To avoid exposure to chemicals while spraying in a greenhouse or other storage space, make sure all chemicals are removed before spraying. They are replaced as soon as the fumes dissipate. Remember that carnivorous plants will not wholly eliminate insect infestations from your home; they are only intended to assist with a pest control service from a professional.

carnivorous plant eating a fly


bottom of page