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Thread: Variety in diet

  1. #1

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    If one were to forgo fertilizing neps and try to keep 'em healthy by prey, would you have to occasionally switch spps?

    I ask because I'm a beekeeper, and in warm weather 2 or 3 thousand bees can die of old age every day, and there are always lots of dead bees outside my hives. It would be hard to think of an easier way to acquire bugs. I could simply go out every saturday to a the 3 hives I have within a few feet of my greenhouse and drop in one bee per pitcher.

    Any thoughts

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Bees are an excellent source of food. I would not be concerned with feeding them a diet of just bees. All the basic nutrients a plant needs to grow are found within them. Personally I always recommend that people feed their Nepenthes the natural way when ever possible. Even dehydrated bugs once or twice a month can make a huge difference to a plant growing in inorganic potting mix and watered with pure water. The risks of causing damage are also much less when feeding the plants bugs.
    Tony
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

  3. #3

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    I would just warn against bee's due to my bad experiences with them, the toxins in the venom sac had rotted my pitchers and poisoned my plants. I lost a really nice mirabilis to bees. I do what I can to pluck them out of the pitcher anymore, but it could just have to do with the variety of bee we have here. I mean, I have no clue what they are scientifically, they are bee's to me, and they don't settle well with my plants. Anyways, that's my two bits.
    Can anyone see such marvelous things, knowing them to be only plants and feel no wonder?

  4. #4
    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    I would be surprised if it was anything naturally in the bee which caused the problem you noticed Flint. Perhaps they were in contact with some sort of herbicide at some point which was present on the insect??

    Anyone else have any sort of experiences good or bad with bugs containing venom?
    Tony
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

  5. #5

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    I will be greatly dissapointed if I can't use bees, but I suppose I should try it out on a small scale first. I have read that in the wild, wasps and ants are regularly taken by neps, and the formic acid in those would be the same, I suspect.

    Perhaps the pollen on the bee's legs carried a disease?

    Anyway, thanks to all for the advice.

  6. #6

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    Bees should not be a problem. I find them occasionally in nep pitchers here. We raise all our neps outside so they can eat whatever comes along. The major portion of food appears to be ants, but roaches, centipedes, termites, moths, bees, yellow jackets, wasps, ghekos, skinks and slugs all wind up in pitchers. Occasionally, when someone mentions that a particular insect rotted their pitcher, it is usually because the insect is large for the size of the pitcher causing extensive detritis within the pitcher. When we had our nursery in Oregon, we grew mostly Sarracenia and a bee man would bring about a hundred hives to our acreage during the summer and early fall. Our Sarracenia pitchers were full of bees...lol

    Kim

  7. #7

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    Kim, what happened to your plants which were full of bees?

  8. #8

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    I've had wasps in my pitchers a few times - some have been large enough that they had to curl to fit into the pitcher (in both sarracenia and nepenthes) and I haven't noticed any real problems from them. Maybe a couple times the wasps in the sarracenia would bite the pitcher and leave a small brown mark, but that is it. Sarracenia seem to attract huge numbers of wasps and bees, and they filled the pitchers on mine this past summer.

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