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Moderator: Matt

By Hayden
If im missing an insect from the list then let me know :)

Alls been re-titled :)

Well im here again creating another guide, of something I found hard to deal with as a beginner. This guide is for people that have found a bug in or on their plant and dont know what to do with it. Please note already that not all bugs are bad for the plant, infact some are good! To see the recommended insecticides/miticides .

Peoples Venus Flytraps are generally wet or moist, these are the perfect conditions for some bugs to reproduce and begin to live. In this thread I will be showing you all of the different types of bugs you can find, how to get rid of them and if they are harmless or not. Ill start with the common ones first, as I dont want to waste peoples time scrolling down.!

Fungus Gnat Larvae
Fungus gnat Larvae generally arnt a problem to the Flytrap but can be annoying to people who's flytraps live in their home. This is because they turn in to flys later on in their life. Its not safe to have these around small plants as they can eat the roots, but most people think that the larger plants are ok with it. They are found in the soil of the flytrap, til they fly away. To remove these you need a mosquito dunk, that can be purchased on many online stores for Americans. But if you are from somewhere else I suggest looking on eBay and find an American store owner that can send to you. The dunks cover a long way, so you only need a little bit in your water dish. They are harmless to any plant, and only the larvae. Expect it to take a bit longer for the gnats to completely die out.

If you cant buy one of these the other option is just to repot like I did, simply as I didnt want these living in my home. Make sure you thoroughly wash the flytrap, so that you dont transfer anything to the new compost!

fungus-gnat-larvae.jpg (19.48 KiB) Viewed 26072 times

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These are a harm to your plants, as they suck away all of your plants nutrition til it is dead (Like a vampire.). They are small insects that can be white, black, green, yellow, red or even purple! They are slow movers, but you should notice them. To remove them there are many methods, the first and most effective one I can suggest is Orthenex. Its a type of spray for your plant that has worked for many collectors ive spoken to. Option 2 is putting your plant under water (Make sure its pure!) for 2-3 minuets, allowing the aphids to drown. Option 3 is one im not too sure will thoroughly work, and is probably the hardest to do. This is to get some ladybirds and let them eat the aphids, id be more worried one would get stuck in the traps!

Yes, ladybirds/ladybugs do eat aphids.

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Springtails are thought to be good for the venus flytrap, as they eat most mould and fungi from the soil. To check that these really are springtails look at the picture and then leave your pot on a coffee table with a piece of yellow card on it. Leave it 3-4 mins and you will find one out on your table. Im always finding them on an outdoor table! When you do see one, touch it, and if it jumps (or seems to "disappear" in the blink of an eye), its a springtail! The last picture shows the furcula which it keeps tucked under itself, and when it senses danger the furcula springs out and catapults the springtail away in an instant (a springtail 5-6 mm in length can jump 75-100 mm (source)).

If you get LOADS of these then the way id remove it is by repotting and giving it a good wash through. I cant think of any other ways to do it, you can always suggest one and ill get it added up here :)



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Mealy Bugs

Mealy bugs are one of the hardest insects to get off your carnivorous plants, and like to strike the sarracenia and venus flytrap. They have a thick waxy layer above them, that they will use as a defence towards insecticides. They will suck your cp dry and not do it much good atall! They can crawl, and spread all around your collection. Theyre only a few mm big, and look like a bit of cotton! To remove the mealy you will first need to remove it from the rest of your collection, hoping nothing else has been infected yet. You can use orthene to remove the bugs, if you dont have orthene. You can try drowning it for 2 days, or for those in the uk a few sprays of provado will do the job.

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Like the mealy bug its waxy coating will protect it from most things that are sprayed towards it. Scale comes in all sorts of shapes and colour, but most measure about 0.5 of a cm. They dont look much like an insect, and more like a small circle. Scale and mealybugs can be controlled using powdered malathion (10%), one tablespoon per gallon, and a wetting agent.

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Thrips are very hard to see, and will come across to us as a black dot! The first thing you should see are some small black dots around yours plants, as they try to suck all of the juices from your plant. If you leave the infestation too long it will begin to loose its colour and go almost pale white or crispy.
Thrips and Spider mites to be added soon! Safer's End-All II Miticide & Insecticide should be the best insecticide for thrips.


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Spider Mites
When it comes to spider mites, many people say these are one of the worst for upsetting your plant. Spider mites are very small dots that move around your plant quite slowly. A good way to check for spider mites is to get a sheet of white paper and shake it under your leaf, if you see small dots (Usually red.) moving around on your paper, you have to get treating fast! Spider mites can be prevented by high humidity to around 60%(Not always.). To treat spider mites you will need some sort of miticide (Pentac, as recommended by Steve_D), as spider mites are not insects. You could also try washing them off. Anybody is welcome to recommend a brand for spider mites, and ill give you the credit on here :mrgreen:


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Flea Beetle
Probably one of the least spoken about pests for carnivorous plants. Ive had good experience with these, and can give very thorough instructions on how to stop them. A flea beetle is pretty much a very small beetle thats black, shiny and about 2mm in length (Aprox.). They jump when touched,STOP do not go and touch them! If its small, shiny and black, it is almost certainly a flea beetle! If you touch them they will stop and miss the insecticide! Ill come on to what insecticide you will need later. I dont suggest leaving the flea beetle on your plant, these are commonly found in vegetable gardens and enjoy eating a plant. I used provado ultimate bug killer to kill mine (UK.) for the US id suggest neem, although ive read that it might not do the job. If anybody else has experienced these in the USA, please either confirm that neem works or give us an alternative. From all of my research, neem seems to work best. As you can see in the picture, flea beetles have wings, so dont be surprised to see one or two with wings up.

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Something you will all see very clearing unlike the rest, and something that isnt after your plants but can hard it! The squirrel is well known to uproot many of your plants as it tears through your soil! In this section, im not going to suggest a rifle or trap. Your first option is sheltering the plants, so that could mean putting net over or even buying yourself a greenhouse! Just make sure you dont trap a squirrel in there, if its left in there and angry it will attack the plants.I live in the woods, and get squirrels everywhere. My plants are kept on a small outdoor coffee table next to my wall, and havent been touched. I may be lucky ;)
One thing I do like, thats been suggested on here by one of our moderators (Veronis I think) is this . A solar powered owl that moves its head, hopefully scaring the squirrels away!

If you have a lot of consistent squirrel problems, using a plastic or metal chicken wire (any chain linked fence type covering) cut to fit over the soil is also a good option. For temperate CPs, place the cut/shaped chicken wire over the pots at the beginning of the season and the CPs will grow around and through it.

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Wasps can be a problem for Sarracenia or potentially any other plant that can catch a wasp! They can chew their way out of the plant, making a small hole! A way to prevent it is by blocking the pitchers in the first place, that seems a bit of a shame because they catch so much and are so enjoyable to watch in the summer months!

Powdery Mildew
This is a common problem with cephalotus, and is usually prevented by a fungicide such as fungus fighter (Available in the UK.). There are many other ways, but as many of you will know, cephalotus arnt the easiest of plants to please! It looks like powdery 'splats' of white or grey on the leafs. Not too hard to look kill, as its just general fungus!

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What insecticides should I buy for now?

Insecticides (Works on almost every insect (6 legged.) creature on the list Locations are added to give indication to where available. If you would like to suggest your working insecticide then please do, and get your name up here!

Acephate 75 SP (75% acephate) - Recommended by Steve_D - New Mexico - Also confirmed by Matt and Veronis (America)

Neem Oil - General favourite to the US (Needs diluting)

Provado Ultimate Bug Killer - General favourite to UK


Pentac - Steve_D - New Mexico

Bug clear - Patsplants - Uk (A common English favourite for the spider mites.).


Fungus Fighter - Myself - UK

Otho Max Garden Disease Control - Matt, Veronis

Any other suggestions welcome :)

For Specific Use

Mosquito Dunks - Used to kill gnat larvae, break into small parts and leave in your water dish. - Recommended by Matt on a previous thread

Future work will add squirrels and slugs (Eg. Bugs that cant be sprayed.) and good sprays to buy around the world including must haves!

Hope you all have the answer to your problems, or have just gained knowledge for the future!

Thanks :)

Images from Google

Guide made 100% by Hayden

Edit Veronis 2/23/2012: Image links were broken; fixed via Google.
Last edited by Hayden on Thu Sep 02, 2010 8:22 pm, edited 19 times in total.
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By jht-union
Posts:  3205
Joined:  Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:43 pm
1)caterpillars: eat a variety of carnivorous plants and leave little black poops.
2)slugs: love to devour young plant tissue
3)mealy bugs: produce a waxy coating that protect them against pesticides,move when disturbed, attack roots,bad infestation below soil surface
4)Scale insects: when young are crawling insects.Then attach to the plant, develops a hard coating,remains stationary.
5)sooty mold(in some cases were the plant is producing lots of sugar to attract prey)
6)spider mites: tiny red speckes that live at the growth tips of plants or on the undersides of leaves, sometimes create webby masses
7)thrips: elongated sucking insects, very hard to see, sucks juices from a plant, exude black droplets on their butts, plant becomes pale or silverly, tissue may look dry or crisped.
8)worms(by making peat moss rich in soil)


source: Growing Carnivorous Plants by Barry A.rice
jht-union, jht-union liked this
By Hayden
Hey Carni, ive known that the little shop of horrors send out fungus gnats before. When I first saw them I reacted in the same way as you. If it starts to get too bad, repot your plant (Especially if its in a small pot anyway). Or wait for dormancy, I doubt they'd live in a fridge as you are going to keep yours.
User avatar
By Steve_D
Posts:  3913
Joined:  Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:06 pm
Hayden wrote:If im missing an insect from the list then let me know
Scale, thrips and spider mites (especially red spider mites). :)

Great job, Hayden. When your guide is more complete, it might be nice to make it a "sticky" discussion thread so that it will always appear among those at the top of the list in the Venus Fly Trap General Questions category of the Forum.
User avatar
By Steve_D
Posts:  3913
Joined:  Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:06 pm
Good job, Hayden. From my own experience, acephate is a very good systemic insecticide (it is absorbed into the plant and poisons insects that suck or chew) that works very well for most of the pests. It is very effective to kill scale insects and aphids, very effective when used together with a dedicated miticide to kill spider mites, and also protects against a wide variety of other insects, including grasshoppers, flea beetles and thrips.

Acephate is the generic name for what used to be known as "Orthene." it is a powder that readily dissolves in water for spraying on the plants.

Acephate and a miticide (I'm using Pentac right now) are the two major pesticides I use and rely on at the present time, although I have become very interested in neem-based products as well, based on the experience and recommendations of other FlytrapCare Forum members.

Thanks for making this guide.
Steve_D liked this
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