indoor garden

Feed me, Krelborn, feed me now! (A guide to feeding a fly trap)

It sounds daft but I never realised I’d have to feed my fly trap, I just kinda assumed it would catch what it needed, but living on my windowsill I figured I’d give the little guy a hand.

So first you need to find something to feed it. I found some dead moths on the windowsill and figured they’d work lovely.

Next you want to place the insect into a trap, the insect wants to be about ¾ the size of the trap and no bigger! *Hint* Put the insect on a trigger hair, it’ll be useful later!

You now need to activate the trigger hairs. Naturally the insect would do this by moving in the trap but as it can’t you’ll have to do this artificially. I find using a long pin is good. Find a hair and just poke and flick the hairs quickly, this will cause the trap to snap closed. This process here is called the initial snap.

Next is the tightening phase, this takes about 30 minutes. Inside the trap the insect would naturally continue to move and struggle, this would allow the trigger hairs to continue being stimulated. This signals the trap to keep tightening. So to simulate this use your thumb and index finger to gently press the trap together, if you followed the hint earlier pay particular attention to where the insect is as this will activate the trigger hair you put it on. Do this up and down the trap for a minute or two. While the plant is tightening any smaller insects not worth digesting can escape, this is so the plant doesn’t waste energy on a small meal.

The trap has now successfully captured it’s dinner that has not escaped during the tightening phase. The fly trap can now enter the sealing phase. During this phase the teeth of the trap start bending upwards so that they are no longer interlocked. The edge of the lobes just under the teeth are now tightly pushed together, there is sometimes a bump around where you insect is. (I don’t know about you but I find that quite cool to look at) Now the trap has sealed this is when the enzymes are released and drown the insect beginning digestion. 

The plant can take 5 to 12 days to eat the insect. Mine took about 8 days until it began to reopen, however this all depends on the size of the insect, age of the trap and temperature etc. While the trap is digesting it will continue to release the enzyme to dissolve the soft tissue, the enzyme will also kill any bacteria accidentally sealed in when the trap shut.

Next is the reopening phase. Once the trap has finished eating it will reabsorb the digestive fluid, this tells the plant to reopen the trap. What should be left is the exoskeleton, in an outdoor environment rain and wind would remove it, however it can be used to lure in other insects such as ants and spiders thus creating another meal for the plant.