As the name suggests, Venus flytraps eat flies and other insects. Their traps close around the unsuspecting insect and then digest it over a few days to a couple of weeks. So, should you leave the dead insect in the trap or try to remove it once it opens up?
You don’t have to remove dead flies from your Venus flytrap unless it’s indoors. If the plant is outdoors, the dead flies will be washed away with rain or blown away by the wind. However, if the plant is indoors, you may need to remove it manually.
In the rest of this article, I’ll explain when you should or should not remove dead insects from a Venus flytrap and how to remove them without getting your finger caught in the trap. And finally, I’ll discuss the best way to feed your Venus flytrap—from types of food to how often you should feed it. Let’s take a look!
Removing Dead Flies From an Indoor or Outdoor Venus Flytrap
When Venus flytraps eat flies, the traps generally remain closed for a while. It usually takes a few days or even a couple of weeks for the plant to finish digesting its food. Once the trap opens up again, the dead body of the insect remains in it.
Deciding whether or not to remove the dead flies largely depends on whether you have an indoor or outdoor plant.
If your Venus flytrap is inside the house, you will need to remove the dead insect yourself. While there isn’t any harm in leaving it, it is unnecessary and looks messy. The best time to remove the insect is when the trap isn’t fully open yet. This way, the trap won’t close again when you try to remove the dead body.
Depending on the situation, there are also times when it’s better to leave the dead insect in the trap. This method is better for outdoor Venus flytraps.
In the wild, there aren’t any humans to remove dead flies from a Venus Flytrap. Usually, rain or wind will wash or blow away the dead flies. So, if your Venus flytrap is outside in the garden, you don’t have to remove the dead flies manually. In fact, the dead bodies might attract other prey, like spiders or other flies. So, it forms a cycle wherein the dead insects attract more prey for your Venus flytrap to feed on.
How to Remove Dead Flies
The main reason it’s more of an effort to remove the dead insects is that you might end up triggering the trap. You see, Venus flytraps have a very efficient system to prevent them from closing on everything that falls into their traps. They have to be certain that the traps are closing over insects instead of raindrops or dirt.
That’s why each trap has trigger hairs. These little barbs in the trap register whenever something falls into it. However, the traps only close when different trigger hairs register movement around the trap. This movement indicates the presence of a living creature crawling around the trap.
When you remove dead flies from a Venus flytrap, you must be careful not to trigger the trap to close again. Closing a trap takes a lot of energy and could deplete your plant’s energy. You also have to be careful not to let your finger get caught in the trap as it closes.
So here are a few safe ways to remove dead flies from a Venus flytrap.
Use a Toothpick
This first method involves a common household item. Toothpicks are a useful tool to help you remove dead insects from the Venus flytrap. They also ensure you don’t have to stick your finger in to get the insects out.
Just take a toothpick and stick it into the dead insect’s body. Carefully remove the insect without dropping it again. If you’re worried that the insect might fall, you can use two toothpicks for extra support.
If you’re having trouble using a toothpick, you can try tweezers instead. It’s easier to grab onto the insects with them. Since tweezers have two “prongs” with which you can hold onto anything, it’s easy to catch the dead insect’s body.
Carefully use your tweezers to hold onto the insect’s body and pull it out. Make sure you keep a steady hand while removing it to avoid triggering the trap.
I recommend buying these Zhehao Venus Flytrap Feeding Tweezers from Amazon. They come in eight different styles and are almost 5 inches (12.7 cm) long. These tweezers are perfect for removing flies from Venus flytraps because of their length and the variety of styles, which makes it easy to hold onto any insect. You can also use them to feed your flytraps.
Use a Paintbrush
The last tool you can use is a small paintbrush. This method requires you to be quick since you won’t get to brush off the insect repeatedly.
Just take a small paintbrush and brush off the insect’s body in one quick stroke. This method only works if the body left behind is a dry exoskeleton. If it’s stuck to the trap or gooey, you’ll need to use one of the other methods.
The best time to try this method is when the trap is only partially open. At that point, the trap isn’t ready to spring into action and close immediately, so you might be able to get a couple of strokes in to remove the dead insect.
Regardless of your method, you may have to brush off some dust from your Venus flytrap or use a little spray of water to clean it. If you’re spraying water, make sure you only use distilled water or rainwater to clean it. Place it in the sun to dry, and add some water to the soil mix to ensure your plant does not dry out.
Feeding Guidelines: Right Food and Frequency
As the name suggests, Venus flytraps feed primarily on flies and insects like crickets, spiders, worms, etc. Usually, Venus flytraps prefer live prey, but you can feed them dead insects too.
You can feed your plant dead insects, but you will need to rehydrate the insects and stimulate the trap. Live prey will trigger the trap on their own by walking over it. For dead flies, you will have to “tickle” the trap to make it close over the dead insect.
You should also remember only to feed your Venus flytrap insects that have been killed as naturally as possible. If you’ve swatted a fly or mosquito with just your hand or a newspaper, it’s safe to feed to your plant. However, if you’ve used a chemical spray or pesticide to kill flies, you can’t use them to feed your Venus flytrap. Many of the chemicals in the dead flies are equally harmful to the plant.
Choose Safe Foods
You should feed your Venus flytrap insects like flies, crickets, and spiders. You can also feed them worms like mealworms or bloodworms. However, you should NOT feed them meat cuts made for humans.
For an easy food source, you can try The Killer Plant’s Freeze Dried Mealworms for Venus Flytraps. This is available on Amazon, and one bag can last you several months. It contains dried mealworms, a great food source for Venus flytraps. However, you will need to rehydrate them with a bit of distilled water before feeding them to your Venus flytrap.
Feed Your Flytrap Once Every 1-2 Weeks
Venus flytraps are pretty easy to feed. One of the main reasons they’re easy to feed is that they only require feeding very rarely.
You should only feed your Venus flytrap once every 1-2 weeks. Wait until one trap has finished digesting food. Once it reopens, wait a day or two and then feed it again. Feed only one trap at a time.
Feeding takes a lot of energy from a Venus flytrap. Feeding multiple traps simultaneously makes your Venus flytrap run out of energy and start dying. They may turn black or start wilting.
If your plant is already turning black, learn what to do in my article: Should You Cut Off Black Venus Fly Traps?
You can remove dead flies from your Venus flytraps if they’re indoors, but outdoor ones can be left alone. The dead flies will be removed naturally by rain or wind.
However, if removing them yourself, you should use a tool like a toothpick or tweezer to hold onto them. This will prevent the trap from closing over your fingers.