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Fasting neps?



My Neps seem in good health, vigorously pitchering and growing, good color, etc., but they just won't digest the bugs I feed them! I don't fertilize them otherwise. The bugs just sit in there unaltered for weeks (so far no molds). What gives? Any advice appreciated.

Ben Rodman in Lyons, CO
Is there ample liquid in the pitcher?
You are not feeding it plastic bugs(ie playing "Ants in the Pants" with your Nepenthes, lol) are you?
Depending on what you're feeding the nep, you may or may not see a visible change....If you're feeding it ants, beetles, or other very hard, chitinous insects, they won't be really altered by digestion (visibly). Their hard excoskeletons (man, my spelling reeks) will support themselvs, even in the absence of anythingleft on the indside. Only bugs that are soft-bodied will show visible (outward) signs that they have been digested.
Yep; they're all perhaps 1/4 to 1/4 full with the original fluid they had at opening. Good point about the exoskeletons... should I fish one out to check it?
</span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">should I fish one out to check it?[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
That depends on how strong your stomac is!

Well, if you know what bugs it's been eating, there is no need...Just find a living example and see if it crunches or squishes when stepped on. That's usually a good indicator.
I should've mentioned the other relevant bits... the bugs to date have been wasps (chitinous) and boxelder bugs (not very chitinous). I've heard that shaking the traps a bit makes the pH change and stimulates enzymatic production. Any feedback on this technique? Would adding a bit of worm/grub/other soft-bodied insect allow a visual inspection to determine whether my neps are vegetarians, and how long would a healthy trap take to digest a representative morsel? How 'bout cooked egg whites?
CPs loooove cooked egg white.  Just feed real small bits though.  Big pieces or more than one small piece can cause the pitcher to rot or can smell bad.  Just a small piece, that's all that's needed.

Here are a couple links on egg white discussions:

1)  Alternative foods
2)  The Great Experiment, Fat Free Milk, Diluted Milk, Protein

If you do a search for "egg white" you'll get 3 pages of topics that egg white was mentioned in.

edited 4-28-03 @ 9:10pm
actually box elder bugs have a fairly good exoskeleton. I feed them to my VFTs all the time and they look almost unharmed after two weeks of digestion, except they are a little thinner.

You must have big traps to feed wasps. How long are the traps?
  • #10
Though the Gracilis traps are delicate (like 1-2 inches) the others are pretty big. Four or five inches on the Ventricosa and Ventrata and around eight in the Maxima.