The Ultimate Carnivorous Plant Pest Control Guide: Prevention

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Sometimes our bug killers need the help of bug killers, here’s a guide to safe and effective insecticides, miticides, fungicides, and methods of getting rid of pests!

As a lot of you may know, I really dislike bugs! I have a zero tolerance when it comes to pests on my carnivores, anything hurting my babies is bad, but BUGS hurting my babies is even worse. So I’ve become somewhat OCD in making sure that my plants are free of pests and happy!

There is a lot of misinformation and confusion about what pesticides to use and not use on carnivorous plants, I decided it was time to clear it all up and make THE ULTIMATE guide to how to get rid of pests on your carnivores.

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A lot of the pests our carnivorous plants attract can be nearly invisible, or lurking under the soil, and we won’t realize that they have anything attacking them until it’s too late and the plant has sustained tons of damage. Treating pests on carnivorous plants can be difficult since our plants are sensitive to a lot of pesticides that are safe on tougher plants. About once a month max I go through specific pesticides for different plants and spray them just to be safe. I really want to stress NOT spraying any flowering plant with pesticides as it can kill bees and birds. If a plant you have is flowering and you HAVE to spray it, then cut the flower first before spraying.

One of the most important things I suggest you do to prevent attaining and spread of pests is isolation. Upon receiving any plant, even a plant from a friend, spray with acephate, and keep the plant isolated for 2 to 3 months away from your general collection. Acephate is one of the safest pesticides for carnivorous plants. This has helped me immensely in keeping pests on new plants from getting to other plants. Pests will usually show themselves or produce noticeable damage in that time frame. Keep your other plant’s health in mind and keep them safe from evil pests!

Below I will list insecticides and miticides that are safe for carnivorous plants. It is important to know that not every pesticide is safe on carnivores! I’ve seen a lot of “use dish soap and water on your carnivore,” methods like this WILL kill your plant. There are also times where people just tell others to “pick the mealybugs off the plant and you’ll be good,” this is also not effective! Many of these pests hide in the roots of your plant and have intricate life stages, there will be eggs and larvae in the soil and the pest will come back and continue reproducing until you treat your plant correctly for the pest.

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Warning for all Pesticides: Please use pesticides with care, some can be harmful to the environment AND to you! Use them properly and as directed so that we don’t damage ourselves or the planet we love. Don’t dilute or strengthen the dose of pesticide and don’t use pesticides more often than they are recommended, this can cause for pest resistance which will make them immune to the pesticide. Always properly identify a pest before using any pesticide on it, using the wrong pesticides on specific pests can also lead to resistance. Wear gloves, a mask, goggles/glasses and any other protective gear you might have and only use the pesticides outside in well-circulated areas. If a pesticide is illegal in your area, please don’t try buying it and using it illegally, it is probably illegal for a good reason and there is always another way to treat the pests!

There are always downsides to using pesticides and even in following all the directions, pesticides can have negative effects to the environment. Please feel free to look up the negative effects of pesticides before using if you are concerned about the consequences of using them.

This is just the first part of my ULTIMATE guide to getting rid of pests! Read on about prevention and stay tuned for future posts specified to each pest our carnivores might catch!

Prevention:

Signs of mealybugs in the soil and roots of a plant.
Signs of mealybugs in the soil and roots of a plant.

The first way in battling pests in general is through prevention. A lot of times you will receive your plant bare root, I always take a good look at the roots to see if I can find any pests or signs of them like mealybugs. Generally immediately upon receiving a plant, I spray the plant and the roots with Orthene (Acephate).

Like I mentioned earlier, isolation of new and infected plants is key. Generally when I receive a plant, I will bag it up to raise humidity and reduce the shipping shock for a quick recovery. This in itself is the beginning of isolating your plant. If you choose to go this way, keep the plant bagged for a week and then begin slowly acclimating it to normal humidity by poking more and more holes in the bag over time. This process should take you a total of 3 weeks. That’s a month of isolation right there! Now just keep it in its own grow spot away from other plants for one more month. Keep a close eye on your plant for any strange growth (doesn’t always mean pests but can be a sign), or actual pests appearing on your plant or in its media.

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Another example of signs of mealybugs in the roots of your plant.

Another form of prevention is active use of a systemic insecticide. The pesticides I use for general prevention of insects are listed below. Growing your carnivores around many other plants can lead to accidental spread of pests infestations if steps aren’t taken to prevent this. Spraying your plant with a systemic pesticide once a month or so is a good way to prevent plants from getting infested with a pest. Note: As I mentioned earlier, if your plant is flowering, do not spray it with pesticides, this can kill bees and small birds that eat from the plant too! If you feel the need to spray a plant that is in flower, cut the flower off first before spraying. We need our bees!

Where do I get my pest control? Usually Amazon, they have the best prices!

Imidacloprid: 

I was using the “Bayer Advanced 3-in-1 Insect Disease Ready To Use 24 Ounce” for a long time but have recently switched to the “Compare-N-Save Systemic Tree and Shrub Insect Drench, 32 Ounce” which is a mix yourself insecticide. I just prefer it because it has more Imidacloprid as an active ingredient than the Bayer Product.

Orthene:

Orthene (Acephate) is forever useful with carnivores especially since its safe on ALL of them. I’ve never seen adverse effects with Orthene, and its just good to have on hand. The one I use from Amazon is super cheap and will last you forever. Great investment, This is the one I use: Orthene 97.4% Acephate

Here is what I use for each genus:

Sarracenia: Acephate or Imidacloprid

Dionaea: Miticide (like Avid), or Acephate

Nepenthes: Acephate or Imidacloprid

Pinguicula: Acephate (I only use pesticide on these if they show signs of pests, and have only ever had pests on them when receiving them from someone else).

Heliamphora: Acephate or Imidacloprid

Utricularia: Acephate

Drosera: Acephate or Imidacloprid

Darlingtonia: Acephate or Imidacloprid

Cephalotus: Acephate or Imidacloprid

Stylidium: Acephate or Imidacloprid

Drosophyllum: Pests do not normally attack Drosophyllum but they are susceptible to soil worms (if you have them growing in the ground or a pot that is touching/near other soil).

 

Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss out on the next part of this “Get rid of your Pests” series!

Feel free to comment with pests that you have had or do have, or if a pest has ever killed one of your plants (I know they’ve gotten a few of mine).

 

 

 

4 comments

  1. Flynn Fedorczak says:

    What ratio do you find successful for use with the Orthene? All the stuff on the MSDS looked woody, and I’m not sure how much to use.

    Thanks!

    • Lulu Megan says:

      Hey Flynn,
      I use 1 TSP of orthene per gallon of water. I label the jug as orthene and pour some into a spray bottle. This amount definitely takes care of pests and doesn’t harm the carnivorous plants.
      Let me know if you have other questions 🙂

  2. Bill says:

    How often do you apply the mixture? I have some mealybugs for the first time and I don’t want to use too much/too little. Do you water the plants with the mixture or just spray the leaves? If there are mealybugs down in the rhizome, I thought watering would be a good way to get down deep enough. I have my sarracenia in undrained, potted mini-bogs so if I watered with the mixture it would not wash away with further watering or rain. Would greatly appreciate some help!!

    • Lulu Megan says:

      Hi Bill!
      If you’re using Imidacloprid I apply it once a month. Since it is systemic I apply it to the plant itself and the soil, like you said it is good for it to soak in since mealybugs generally start in the root/rhizome system and move up.
      Imidacloprid has a half life of about a month, I’d apply for 3 months and if there are no signs after a 3 monthS then you can discontinue treatment!
      Let me know if you have other questions:)

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