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Why Do Venus Flytraps Eat Insects? How To Feed Them?

Do you often ponder why Venus flytraps eat insects and not regular food like other plants?

Venus flytraps eat insects as acquired habits to compensate for the Nitrogen missing from the nutrient-poor soil, where a single flytrap will eat 3-4 bugs in its lifetime before dying off.

Many new gardeners wonder if feeding nitrogen fertilizer prevents them from eating insects.

Do you wonder the same? Well, read on to find out the truth.

Why Do Venus Flytraps Eat Insects?

Many wonder why Venus flytraps would eat innocent insects that do not seem to harm the plant.

The truth is Venus flytraps (Dionaea muscipula) eat insects because they are meat-eating plants.

Interestingly, these plants naturally grow in nutrient-free soil, compelling them to look for alternative yet accessible sources of food for Nitrogen.

Remember, they need a lot of Nitrogen to thrive, which comes easily from the bugs upon digestion.

Image represents Venus Flytrap plant capturing its prey
Vennus flytraps’ primary nutrient source comes from insects.

What could be better than the clueless insects flying directly into the flytraps, providing an easy food source?

Moreover, their teeth-like edges around the trap enable them to capture small, weak prey like varieties of bugs (ants, spiders, flies, etc.) and sometimes even roaches and tiny frogs.

Imagine this plant as a nutrient-starved warrior looking for any opportunity to find and eat juicy prey.

Do Venus Flytraps Eat Every Insect?

Remember, these plants do not eat bugs that pollinate them, such as sweat bees, checkered beetles, and long-horned beetles.

Scientists believe that pollinators are only attracted to the white flowers, while the red and green color of the traps may lure other bugs.

Because of their predatory nature, they would feed on insects that would fit inside their trap, but eating larger prey like a mouse may not be possible.

Additionally, a single flytrap would only eat a handful of bugs before turning black and slowly dying within two to three months.

Can You Feed Venus Flytraps a Nitrogen-Rich Fertilizer?

If you assume feeding your Venus flytraps a nitrogen-rich food will discourage them from eating insects, then you are wrong!

Feeding a Venus flytrap with nitrogen fertilizer is terrible and can even harm the plant.

Here are a few reasons why nitrogen fertilizer is a bad idea.

  • Excess nitrogen can burn or damage the traps, leading to untimely death.
  • The traps will become less motivated to capture insects, making them weaker.
  • Most of all, fertilizing will disrupt the nutrient balance in the soil, making them susceptible to diseases.

As mentioned, Venus flytraps adapted to grow in nutrient-poor soil and evolved to trap bugs for nutrients.

However, only feed them one to two live insects per month and only a handful of bugs in a lifetime to ensure their traps stay alive longer!

From Editorial Team


Provide a well-draining, nutrient-free soil containing only peat moss and perlite to keep Venus flytraps healthy!

Moreover, avoid feeding human food, such as meat, because the flytraps will fail to digest them.

Lastly, touch multiple trap hairs when feeding them manually, as they do not snap until appropriately stimulated.

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