I'm not sure if this is the right place to start my inquiry, but i cant figure out how to start my own thread. Anyway....I've been growing cp's for a few years now - first in FL, now in IL and I cannot get my vft's to reliably eat. They are quite small, but I have tried flies, dried blood worms, chopped up crickets, and pill bugs, and the plants always reopen within a day, so they are not digesting the food. i cant figure out what the issue is. And consequently, I have gone through 1/2 dozen plants! Are they too young and only require fertilizer? Is it my lack of ideal growing environment- (Chicago apt)? I have tried the tank with very expensive grow lights, Ive respected the dormancy, read books on the subject etc.....but this trial & error is getting me down. Anyone have ideas? Please advise....
VFTs do not need to be fed to be healthy, but they can be killed by over-feeding. Do not fertilize! From your description, it is hard to determine your problem. One guess is that VFT traps open within a day when they "think" non-prey has triggered the trap. One cue to catching a prey is when the thing caught continues to struggle and stimulate the trigger hair after the trap closes. Dead prey don't do that and often the trap opens without sealing and digesting. Also, light intensity and temperature influences trap behavior.
Thank you:) As for the non-struggling dead prey, I have been using a very thin piece of thread to move the "prey" around once the trap starts to close. Of course, this only makes it close faster which is why Im perplexed as to why it continuously reopens. This is the first time they have ever been fed-(Ive had them since last Fall), and they are on a sunny windowsill that faces west but actually gets more sun than my south facing windows. Thats all I have to work with. I'd say they get about 4hrs of good solid sun exposure, and a few hrs of indirect sunlight, AND they are next to a tank of Nepenthes that I have with a high-output fluorescent. Temps range from high 70's to low 70's on a day to night cycle. Hope that paints a clearer picture, I appreciate the input.
You need to stimulate the trap until you get "type 2 closure" - when the outer margin starts to curl outward and a tight seal is formed making a pocket or "stomach" out of the trap around the prey.
When using non-living food I will place the food in the trap, trigger the hairs with a forceps or toothpick. Then I gently squeeze the sides of the trap between my thumb and forefinger. Repeat several times over the course of an hour or two. Type 2 closure is when the digestive enzymes get released and there must be some sort of feedback mechanism that samples for nutrients. If no nutrients the trap will open in a day or two.
When using dried blood worm I moisten the bit of bloodworm after putting it in the trap but before triggering the trap shut. Many times with moistened blood worm squeezing the trap isn't necessary. The plant appears to be able to sense the nutrients in the blood worm "sauce" and goes into type 2 closure on its own. The reason I do not moisten the blood worm first is that it sticks to the forceps or whatever I use to transfer it into the trap better than it does to the plant.
I sometimes feed my VFTs extra crickets I have laying around. Usually, you can go to petstores and find ones that are around 2 weeks old or so, those are usually perfect size.
Of course, I rarely feed my outdoor plants. The VFTs almost all live outside (I have 2 on my light shelf- even they catch bugs from time to time), they catch more bugs than I would be comfortable feeding them.
If you are into droseras, consider culturing fruitflies. Super easy. I feed my droseras flightless fruitlfies and they grow like weeds!