most people say let your plant catch its food on its own thats bull feed your plant a bug or two a month unless it is catching a couple bugs a month on its own. My rule which seems to give my plant great nuritionment is have one trap eating at a time. Any insect or arachnid that is about half the traps lenght is fine but not beetles they can be tough on the traps. i have fed many ants to mine and they seem to do no harm.
#1 Most places I have looked say that one or two meals a month is more than enough. The VFT doesn't have to eat bugs. It developed the ability to do so to compensate living in a soil virtually void of nutrients. The bugs it catches are like fertilizer. All they do is help the plant grow faster.
#2 Again, I really can't speak from first hand experience but the general consensus seems to be to feed the VFT bugs with the least amount of hard exoskeleton. If you think about it, it makes sense. The esoskeleton has nothing in terms of nutrients, can't be digested and inturn will leave alot of waste in the trap when it reopens.
#3 On the ant subject: I've heard people say that many times after eating ants, the traps will turn black and rot off. My guess is that the formic acid in the ant is probably not good for the plants.
This is just what I've read. I can't speak from personal experience, yet.
1) Consider a bug fertilizer to the plant ( this is in fact what it is ). In the wild the soil that these guys/gals live in is bare of all substance. Very poor soil. So the plant has created a way to get what every other plant can get.
If you 'fertilize' your plant, it will grow faster, bigger, stronger
If you don't 'fertilize' it will still grow, just not as fast, not as big ( or it will take longer ) and not as strong.
So feeding is really an optional thing. OF course if you feed it anything it will grow, but NOT feeding will have the same effect.
#2 The plant will enjoy soft bodied insects. Flies, Mosquitos...things that do not have a hard shell. Some people have bad luck with Spiders and Ants. Sometimes Ants will try to get their 'friend' out of the trap, and in the process cut up the plant. Plus they are too small for the plant.
Whatever you feed it make sure it: 1) is alive- nothing dead. 2) is small enough to fit into the trap. You want the trap to be able to close tight aroung the prey.. If space is left open around the trap, sometimes bacteria can get in and kill the trap. 3) I would stay aways from poisonous insects- spiders, ants.
#3 Refer to the top
If you are going to feed it ants, I would be very careful not to have the plant around the ant bed. Ants can emmit scents to attract others to their where abouts. NOT GOOD FOR THE PLANT.
Jaie - Yes, I make sure I don't feed it ants around the anthill. Actually, what I do is, I feed it those non-poisonous(sp.?)ants, the kind that you sometimes find in your house, they are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, I catch one or two outside and put it in the terarrium with the lid on so it can't get out and other ants can't get in. It's been working pretty well. It seems to love ants so that's what I feed it most of the time. Well, I guess I'll have to wait until its traps get bigger before I feed it anything other than fruitflies! I usually get a full stock of fruitflies from the ten gallon cage I keep large crickets in(the crickets are food for my leopard gecko). The fruitflies swarm in there because of the orange In there that the crickets eat.
P.S. I just noticed how many new traps are sprouting since it came out of dormancy! When I saw all the new traps I looked like this: :biggrin: !