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Carnivorous plants to get rid of bugs?

Discussion in 'Tortoise Enclosures' started by doletorts, Aug 1, 2014.

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  1. doletorts

    doletorts Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Now before i start, first i just want to say that this was a crazy idea i had when i was thinking of how to keep my new gnat problem under control. Second off, after doing research for about an hour i don't even think i would do it based on the fact that they need acidic soil and water thats very not nutritional lol like rain water cuz it doesn't have the added vitamins/minerals that are in tap and bottled water. And finally i don't even really know where i would get one to be honest cuz i never see them in like garden departments of big box stores.

    So now that i got that said i want to know if putting any type of carnivorous plant (pitcher plants, flypaper plants, venus flytraps etc...) in with a tort would even be a good idea let alone work, it would probably have to be a tropical species like a redfoot which is what i have. Now obviously (if i even did it) they would have to be in their own pot that either is tall enough to the point where the tort has no chance to get to it, or is placed on something that cant be climbed on and that puts the plant high enough because its probably not a good idea to let a tort near something that can possibly not only poison it but also subsequently bite it. I just thought it would be a cool and much more appealing way to take care of bugs, cuz the exotic look of pitcher plants and venus fly traps would fit in very nicely with a tropical enclosure.

    And P.S. Im going to set up Georges new tank and move him to it soon so hopefully the bugs will just stay in the present tank and not come with to the new one. But i will still accept ideas on how to "take care" of bugs just in case. XoX
  2. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    To get rid of your substrate flies you will need to boil, bake or replace your substrate about every two weeks.

    Because they come from the environment, you will definitely see them in your new enclosure too.
  3. doletorts

    doletorts Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Ok thanks
  4. pfara

    pfara Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I was actually thinking of trying to raise a nepenthes (pitcher plant) to add to my collection of plants I've grown. From what I've read (not enough to be 100% sure), these plants are non-toxic to humans. Apparently people actually cook the pitcher parts and the nectar in the pitchers are sterile (though I probably wouldn't drink the fluid since that's where the bugs go). Again, not sure since I've done minimal research. Still, I saw a few at Home Depot and I thought I'd try it out. I'll let you know if it keeps gnat populations down and the ease of care.
  5. tortadise

    tortadise Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    I use lots of pitchers plants. They work great. Planting them in the enclosure is not advisable. They need to be in a hanging basket. The pitchers need to have water in the pitcher part of the plant to survive. They work really well. But you will never get completely rid of the bugs.
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  6. pfara

    pfara Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Ooh.. thanks Kelly! I was going to hang them over the enclosure since I've read somewhere that nepenthes grows more vigorously when the pitchers hang. I don't mind the bugs so much but anything to keep the population down is always a plus. I just wanted to grow the plant just to add it to my repertoire. Thanks again :D
  7. tortadise

    tortadise Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    Yeah they're awesome. I haven't had luck with fly traps. Just the pitchers. They're awesome and can get really big too over years of keeping them
  8. Yellow Turtle01

    Yellow Turtle01 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Will the tort tort eat them? Been having problems with bugs, and my new plants are finally starting to root. Don't want to bake those :(
  9. pfara

    pfara Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I think pitcher plants would work well if you could hang them over the enclosure. Flying insects will be attracted to the nectar that the plant produces. And since the plant is hanging, torts wouldn't have access to them.
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  10. Yellow Turtle01

    Yellow Turtle01 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Thank you :D Those horrible little substrate nats have got to go, just icky :confused:
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  11. pfara

    pfara Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I know what you mean. I'm gonna try pitcher plants to see how well they do.. and also to see if I can keep them alive lol. I usually use those yellow sticky pads to keep the gnat numbers down but they're such an eyesore.
  12. tortadise

    tortadise Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    You should be able to find them at whole foods in the plant section too. I've gotten a few small ones there.
    image.jpg
  13. pfara

    pfara Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hey Kelly. The Home Depot over here has a few for sale that look exactly like yours but a "smaller model". Would you happen to know the exact specie yours is? I've read that they kinda divide the many types of pitcher plants into two categories: highland and lowland. I think there's intermediate as well.

    Beautiful plant, btw :D
  14. doletorts

    doletorts Active Member 5 Year Member

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    I think i may have to try it :). This may be a weird question but is there any specific kind of soil that you need or can i just use regular topsoil?
  15. pfara

    pfara Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    No. You need an acidic, nutrient poor medium to grow many carnivorous plants. I believe you can use 100% long fibered sphagnum moss or a mixture of that, peat moss, and/or perlite. Also, from what I've read, you need to water with distilled or RO water. Even spring bottle water is supposedly bad for the plants. Good luck! You got me thinkin about getting lots of different carnivorous plants to try now lol..
  16. Roo Bot

    Roo Bot New Member

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    If you do get a pitcher plant, most of the hanging, tropical varieties require quite a bit of humidity and light. I've never had any luck with them in the long run. If you do try them out (they are totally worth trying!), you might want to mist them frequently. Bladderworts are fun humid houseplants too! You don't see the carnivore action, but their flowers are really pretty.

    I have had excellent luck keeping the non-hanging variety as well as fly traps outside. The climate, here in in Portland, is fairly mild and the water is ridiculously soft. (I believe it is the minerals in 'regular' water and soil that they don't like. They come from very nutrient deficient environments and 'eat' insects for minerals and such instead of getting them out of the soil. I think the hanging nepenthes are epiphytes, so also don't rely much on roots for nutrition.) I had outdoor carnivorous plants for about 5 years until an accidental plant drought killed them. The tall tubey pitchers would buzz in the summer from catching so many flies!

    Depending on the level of your interest, a book: The Savage Garden, might be worth checking out. I was obsessed with and fascinated by it when I was a teenager.

    Either way- Good luck!

    Random after note- I haven't dealt with the gross gnat things, but a cup of apple cider vinegar covered in saran wrap with little holes in the wrap works well for fruit flies- might it also work well for substrate gnats?
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
  17. pfara

    pfara Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Great info, Roo. The whole apple cider thing never really worked for me and the torts seemed to dislike the strong odor. Have you ever tried Pinguicula?
  18. doletorts

    doletorts Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Thanks for that ROO. :) As long as i can find one in one of the stores mentioned earlier i believe i will try it
  19. christinaland128

    christinaland128 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Whaaaa? Really Whole Foods? I'll have to look!
  20. Roo Bot

    Roo Bot New Member

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    Pinguicula is probably the only group I haven't tried to grow. : ) Their flowers are super pretty too though!

    Where I live now, space and sun are more limited than I'd prefer: no houseplants for me.

    I hadn't thought of vinegar stink. One of my favorite things about my tortoise is how she practically shoves food up her nose before she eats it. (I've only had her a couple months.) I never knew they were such sniffers, but it is one of my favorite things about her.
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