Fruit flies can be fought in many ways. Not only home remedies are successful in the fight against fruit flies, but also carnivorous plants can be used against fruit flies. This all-natural defense has the advantage that you do not have to do anything actively against the fruit flies. In addition, the carnivorous plants look good and also keep other insects away from you.
But which carnivorous plants are suitable against fruit flies and what do you need to consider when caring for them?
Are carnivorous plants better than home remedies in the fight against fruit flies?
Which carnivorous plant can be used against fruit flies?
For the home, the choice of carnivorous plants is very limited. The few that are available are all the more effective against fruit flies.
Plants that can be used are
- Venus flytrap
These three plants are particularly suitable for use in the kitchen or home. In the long run, the plants do not grow too large, but they can still kill a considerable amount of fruit flies and other insects.
Unlike conventional plants that do not rely on flies for food, the place where the carnivorous plant is placed must be very bright. Likewise, the plant substrate must always remain moist. These are essentially the requirements that must be met in order for the carnivorous plants to be happy.
But how exactly can you get rid of fruit flies?
The use of the carnivorous plants
To kill the fruit flies, there are several approaches. The sundew and the butterwort proceed in the same way. The fruit flies are attracted by the smell and after that they cannot get away from the sticky leaves.
Once the fruit fly is trapped on the leaves, a secretion is secreted that breaks down the fruit fly. At the end of this “digestion process”, only the chitinous carapace of the fruit fly remains. This is indigestible to the plant, but also dissolves over time.
The procedure of the Venus flytrap should be known. It works according to the jackknife principle. If a fruit fly has settled on the leaf, a signal is emitted via the fine hairs. Now the flower closes and the fruit fly is caught.
Now the fruit fly is also digested with the help of a secretion. This digestion process can take several days. The ability of the folding trap to be used is very limited. After about seven folding processes, the folding trap dies. This makes the Venus fly trap not very useful if you have lots of fruit flies in your room.
Does it kill all fruit flies?
If you just have an acute infestation of fruit flies in your kitchen, then the use of the carnivorous plants is not suitable for such “large-scale operations”.
Like us humans, the plants have a limited intake capacity. The secretion they produce is only enough to digest one insect. Moreover, digestion can take several days. Even for a small fruit fly, this is a considerable period of time.
In order not to put your carnivorous plant through too much, you should still use other methods if you have a large number of fruit flies.
On the other hand, the carnivorous plant is suitable to prevent fruit flies from multiplying first. Thus, few fruit flies can be contained in the beginning by the carnivorous plants.
To exterminate a fly or other insect now and then the carnivorous plant is also suitable. In this way, you can reduce the population of insects. However, you will probably not eliminate fruit flies completely. Therefore, you should always resort to other means to combat fruit flies.
The size of the prey
The carnivorous plants, which are placed in the apartment are usually not very large. With fruit flies, they can still easily cope. However, when it comes to eating normal house flies, then this can already be a problem.
The capacity of the plants is very limited and they can not necessarily choose which insects fall into their trap. If a fly that is too large is held, then it cannot be eaten. This will cause the trap to die and the insect to be released.
So if you have the idea that you can control larger insects with these plants, then this is not so easily possible.
One plant that has no problem with such large insects is the pitcher plant. However, keeping these at home requires a lot of care and preparation.
Do plants always need insects?
When the threat of insects declines, so does the food for the carnivorous plants. But how can they live with this omission?
In winter, when insect densities thin, food for plants in most cases remains absent. However, this need not be a major concern, as plants can go a long time without food.
The winter you can get the nutrients from their substrate and in most cases the plants build up a sufficiently large store. So you don’t have to worry about providing the plants with live food.
How are the insects attracted?
If there are only a few fruit flies or other insects in your home, then this is a good condition for now. But how do carnivorous plants work now to attract the few insects to them exactly?
It is widely believed that the plants emit a scent and this attracts the insects. This assumption was confirmed in a study – with one caveat.
This is because not all insects are attracted to the scent of the Venus flytrap. Researchers have shown that only hungry insects can be lured into the trap by the scent.
So if the insects can find plenty of food with you, then the plants’ attractants may be ineffective.
The scent that the Venus fly trap emits imitates the smell of flowers and fruits. In this way, the fruit flies are fooled into thinking that there is a food source nearby.
The care of the Venus flytrap
So, a carnivorous plant is useful for your home for many reasons. Not only does it look good, but it can also minimize the number of insects. But what kind of maintenance needs to be done and is it very different from other houseplants?
Venus flytrap is a very frugal and rather low maintenance plant. It keeps a kind of hibernation, where the activity of its traps is limited. Theoretically, the plant can spend the whole year outdoors, but Venus flytrap does not tolerate temperatures below freezing in the long run.
In general, the Venus flytrap is very low maintenance. However, when it comes to sunlight, the plant can’t get enough of it. Therefore, a place on the south side should be found.
If the plant does not get enough sun, then it will be noticeable by the fact that the red coloration will fail and the traps will appear almost stunted. If there is not enough light in the apartment, then relocation outdoors is recommended. There a period of acclimatization should be considered. So the plant will not get better immediately, but it needs a short while to recover.
As far as temperatures are concerned, there is almost no maximum temperature. At least this is true for the climate in Europe. Temperatures up to 32°C are optimal for the Venus flytrap.
During the growth a higher humidity is required. This is especially true in spring and summer. In winter, when the plant goes into hibernation anyway, lower humidity can also be tolerated.
When caring for it, you should be considerate. If you discover dead leaves, it is better to wait a little until they dry up completely. Now you can easily pluck off the leaves.
Watering the Venus flytrap
Venus flytrap requires not only high humidity, but also plenty of water for optimal growth. The saucer of the plant should therefore be filled with a little water at all times. About 1 cm of water height is ideal for the plant. This procedure is also known as accumulating water.
In winter, however, the accumulating procedure does not have to be used. Here it is enough if the Venus flytrap remains slightly moist and does not dry out. So in winter the plant behaves more like a conventional houseplant.
Watering the carnivorous plant should be either with decalcified water or rather completely with distilled water.
Does the Venus flytrap need fertilizer?
The advantage of the Venus flytrap is that it draws its nutrients from live food. So a fertilizer is not necessary. Feeding is also not necessary. The plant can survive a long time without food.
However, if there is absolutely no food available and you are afraid that the Venus flytrap will die, then you can use live food.
Placing dead insects on the Venus flytrap will not work. The fine hairs can sense if it is a live animal that is still moving or if it is a dead subject.
Carnivorous plants are good for containing fruit flies. They can help prevent fruit flies from spreading in the first place and make them feel comfortable in your home.
Carnivorous plants are basically very low maintenance. Other than plenty of sun and water, they don’t need any special attention. There is no need to use a fertilizer, as the plants get their nutrients from the insects.
However, if you think you can contain an acute infestation of insects with these plants, you will probably be disappointed. This is because carnivorous plants are very limited in their capacity to kill insects.
However, if the insect infestation is to be contained just a little, then carnivorous plants are very suitable in the fight against fruit flies.