Venus fly traps can consume many different types of bugs, and mealworms are a suitable alternative. Mealworms are very nutritious and contain lot’s of soft tissue that Venus fly traps can digest.
Mealworms, bloodworms, and crickets, are some of the best options to feed your plant. Feeding your plant will accelerate growth, help your plant develop brighter colors, and propagate more often.
Here is how you can feed your plant, step by step:
For best results, feed your Venus flytrap once every 2-4 weeks. Feeding a single bug to one trap within the plant is more than enough.
Make sure to feed your plant yea-round and take a break during dormancy. There is no need to feed your plant during dormancy.
Where to Get Mealworms
You can purchase live or freeze-dried (dehydrated) Mealworms from the pet store.
Both option are great for Venus fly traps and offer very similar nutritional value. However, the feeding process will vary when employing live vs dead bugs.
Freeze-dried mealworms are also available in Amazon, here are some I have purchases: Buy Mealworms.
A single container of mealworms can last you for years and they are usually less than $10.
I prefer dead mealworms, because I only use a handful a month. Buying a box of live mealworms would be a waste.
How to Select the Perfect Mealworm
Select a mealworm that is small enough to fit completely inside a trap. As a rule of thumb you should look for a worm that is a maximum of 1/2 of the size of the trap.
Preferably, pick a smaller insect rather than a bigger one. Insects that are too large can cause the leaf to wither.
If you are unable to find a mealworm that is small enough, break one and give smaller pieces to your plant.
Can You Not Feed Your Plant
Venus fly traps extract beneficial nutrients from insects, but such nutrients are not essential for survival.
Feeding your plant, provides a boost in growth and health, but it is not required.
Venus fly traps growing outdoors will have plenty of access to insects, they do not feed to be fed at all!
How to Feed Live Mealworms to Venus Fly Trap
Feeding Venus flytraps is a straightforward process that can improve the health of your plant if done correctly. These tips will help you ensure you do not make any beginner mistakes:
- Always employ small mealworms or other insect 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 and have access to insects
- Only feed one trap in the whole plant at a time
- Feed a single bug once every 2-6 weeks. This will help you avoid overfeeding
- Avoid feeding venus fly traps during dormancy
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.
- Use tweezers or your hands to 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 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.
Read the complete venus flytrap feeding guide for more information!
How to Feed Freeze-dried Mealworms to Venus Fly Trap
You can buy dead mealworms that come freeze-dried from per stores or grocery stores.
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- Rehydrate the Bug: Freeze-dried insects are dehydrated. 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.
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 mealworm inside the trap and touch the trigger hairs by placing it in the center of the trap.
With dead prey, you must stimulate the trigger hairs yourself. 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.
Step 5- Continue to stimulate: Now, the trap should have closed. If it is not closed, just touch the trigger hairs one more time.
Venus flytraps take their time to close their leaves completely and start digesting. The plant must first confirm it caught live prey.
For dead bugs, you must continue to stimulate the leaves. Press the sides of the trap gently in a tapping motion for 30 seconds. If it does not close, 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.
If you do not have mealworms, you can also use crickets or any of the options below to feed carnivorous plants: https://amzn.to/34QEnKv (link to Amazon.com)
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 some suitable options:
- Fruit flies
- Rollie pollies
Any of these bugs can be dead or alive.
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… never to feed human food to your plant. Avoid chicken, meat, fruit, candy, etc.
Venus fly traps can 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.