I really wouldn't say that the base is blackening, more just darkening to a reddish color. It has spread a bit to the lowest leaf on the plant though, but is moving fairly slowly. I guess I'll just keep my eye on it. The upper leaves continue to grow, which I consider to be a good sign. Plus, I really don't water it all that often.
As for the bugs, I used to keep hermit crabs, which, contrary to popular belief are really interesting little animals, and can actually live for a really long time, depending on how well you care for them (up to around 20 years sometimes.) The point being, hermit crabs like the same environment as nepenthes, and come from a similar region of the world. There always seems to be little bugs in the terrarium they live in. Almost 95% of the time, they weren't harming anything, but were just a nuisance to look at. Warm and humid environments invite bugs, and I think most are just there for the dirt.