Venus fly traps consume insects such as crickets, flies, worms, ants, and beetles to extract nutrients and boost their health
Crickets as well as mealworms and bloodworms are some of the best food alternatives for Venus fly traps. These insects contain tons of nutritious elements, are easy to digest, and inexpensive.
In this article, I will share how you can feed crickets to your plant to promote growth while avoiding any mistakes that could harm your plant
Where to Get Crickets
You can purchase freeze-dried (dehydrated) crickets from most pet stores. You can usually find these dead crickets in the reptile fish food section.
In some pet stores you can also find live crickets and of course you could catch them yourself!
Venus fly traps can eat dead or live crickets. Both options offer a very similar nutritional value. However, the feeding process will varies when employing live vs dead bugs. Feeding dead crickets will be slightly more challenging.
A single container of freeze-dried crickets can last you for years and they are usually less than $10. Here is a link to one you can buy: https://amzn.to/34QEnKv
I prefer to use dead crickets or mealworms, because I only use a handful a month. When they are dehydrated, you can store them for years. Buying a container of life bugs ends up being a waste of money.
How to Select the Right Cricket
it is key that you select crickets of the appropriate size to feed your plant.
Choose a cricket that can fit inside a trap when the trap closes. As a rule of thumb you should look for a bug that is a maximum of 1/2 of the size of the trap.
You want to avoid insects that will be sticking our of the trap.
if you have the option, pick a smaller insect rather than a bigger one. Insects that are too large can cause the leaf to wither and harm your plant
How Often to Feed Your Plant
For best results, feed your Venus flytrap once every 2-4 weeks. When feeding, use a single bug and feed only one trap.
Overfeeding your plant can cause black leaves and weaken the plant.
Make sure to feed your plant throughout the year and stop feeding it during dormancy.
Tip: Manual Feeding is Not required
Venus fly traps extract beneficial nutrients from insects, but such nutrients are not essential for their survival. These plants produce their food through the standard photosynthetic process.
Feeding your plant, provides a boost in growth and health, but it is not required.
If you do not want to feed your plant, you do not need to do it.
Personally, I recommend either growing your plant outdoors and letting it capture insects on its own or feeding it. It is not for survival, but a way to help you grow big Venus fly trap.
How to Feed Live Crickets to Venus Fly Trap
Feeding Venus flytraps is a straightforward process that can improve the health of your plant if done correctly. Here are some initial tips:
- Always employ insects that are a maximum of 1/2 of the size of the trap.
- There is no need to feed venus fly traps when they live outdoors
- Feed a single bug once every 2-6 weeks
- Avoid manually feeding venus fly traps during dormancy or if your plant is struggling to survive.
The list below outlines the steps to feed a live bug to a Venus flytrap. You can also watch the video to get a live demonstration of the feeding process.
- Locate the trigger hairs in your Venus flytrap. They are three thin filaments in each lobe of the trap.
- Grab the insect.
- Place the bug inside the lobes of your Venus flytrap. Make sure the bug is placed as close to the center as possible
- Touch the trigger hairs in the trap at least 2 consecutive times. After two touches the Venus flytrap should close on the insect.
- Wait until the trap closes and monitor it for the next 2-5 minutes. After a few minutes, the trap should be fully close.
- The Venus flytrap start digesting the bug, it won’t reopen until at least a few days or a couple of weeks.
Venus fly traps can take over 2 to 3 weeks to digest a single small cricket. Do not worry if your plant does not reopen right away; the digestion process is very slow.
Read the complete venus flytrap feeding guide for more information!
How to Feed Dead Crickets to Venus Fly Trap
You can buy dead crickets that come freeze-dried from per stores or grocery stores or simply a dead cricket you caught or found.
However, you must keep in mind that feeding dead bugs to your plant takes an extra effort, as you must trick the plant into believing it caught live prey.
Step 1- If your are using freeze-dried crickets, rehydrate them: To rehydrate them, just add a few drops of distilled water and let the insect absorb it for 3-5 min. Then, pat it dry before feeding to your plant. Make sure to get rid of the water as the excess can cause black leaves.
Skip this step if you simply have a dead cricket that is not dehydrated.
Step 2- Select the trap you intend to feed. Tip: selecting larger and younger traps tends to be more effective.
Step 3- Locate the trigger hairs: Observe the inside of the trap and locate the three trigger hairs in each lobe. This thin filaments are located in the center of the lobes.
When feeding a Venus flytrap, you must touch them twice within a few seconds for them to close.
Step 4- Insert the bug: Place the cricket inside the trap and touch the trigger hairs twice.
I follow this effective strategy: grab the bug with chopsticks and place it inside the traps with a brushing motion. Touch the trigger hairs with that motion and drop the bug.
The trap should close. If it is not closed, just touch the trigger hairs one more time.
Step 5- Continue to stimulate: Venus flytraps take their time to start digesting prey. The plant must first confirm it caught live bugs.
So, to trick the plant, you must stimulate the trigger hairs.
Press the sides of the trap gently in a tapping motion for 30 seconds.
The trap should go from a semi closed stage (shown in the picture) to a complete shut stage. Continue to stimulate for another 30 seconds or until the trap is sealed shut.
After the leaf is completely closed, the plant will produce digestive enzymes and start consuming the insect.
At this stage all the work is done! Just leave your plant to consume the food. it usually take from a few days to up to 3 weeks or more.
List of What to Feed Venus Fly Trap
Venus fly traps can eat almost any type of insects or spider that is small enough to fit inside their leaves. Here are options you can use:
- Fruit flies
- Rollie pollies
For a complete list with more food options, check out this article: Complete List Food Options for Venus flytrap
What is the most important part of a feeding a Venus fly trap is to avoid feeding human food to your plant. Never use chicken, meat, fruit, candy, or anything similar
Venus fly traps ca not consume human food or larger animals. Such foods will harm Venus fly traps and could kill them 🙁
For more information on Venus fly trap care, read this growing guide.