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Thread: An impromptu ant feast

  1. #1

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    Unhappy

    One week ago today I received a large rooted cutting of Nepenthes x Ventrata that was growing in pure LFS. It had three fully formed upper pitchers about 4.5 inches tall each one.

    The next day, I removed it from the LFS and repotted into a different mix, managing to break quite a few roots in the process, and placed it in bright, indirect light under a south window, sitting on the floor. I assumed that the plant would go into shock due to the change in environment and the clumsy repotting, but was amazed to see that the pitchers filled themselves up (the bottom 1/5) with liquid within two days of repotting.

    Yesterday, upon coming home from work, I noticed a few ants in the vicinity of this plant and noticed they were making a beeline for one of the pitchers which happened to be hanging over the edge of the pot and touching the floor. When I looked inside the pitcher, the lower 1/5 was black with dead and struggling ants. And the lid had what appeared to be copious amounts of nectar forming in droplets. The other two pitchers, which were located higher up also had large amounts of nectar but far fewer ants.

    I am a meticulous housekeeper and have never noticed even a single ant in my house before this. Nor did I notice any tagalongs when I repotted this plant. I still have no idea where these things came from! None of my plants, CPs and non-CPs alike, show any signs of scale, including this one. I spent a couple of hours this evening scouring all of my plants with a magnifying glass looking for signs of pests but found nothing. I have since moved my N. x Ventrata away from the floor and have not seen more ants appear.

    But my question is this: is it too soon for my plant to attempt to digest such a large amount of insects? Should I attempt to remove some of the dead ants (maybe by washing out the pitcher with water?), or should I just leave it alone?

    Also, do Nepenthes tend to attract ants from out of nowhere, or do I most likely have an infestation that needs to be dealt with?

    Just wondering,
    Corey

  2. #2

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    Hi Corey
    Your nep is doing what it does for a living,just leave it alone and watch nature at work [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img]
    bye for now julian

  3. #3

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    Look at it this way: If the nep causes an infestation, it will get rid of the infestation. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img]

  4. #4

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    Well, a few days have now passed, and I really do think it was too much food too soon for that particular Nepenthes. As of yesterday, the overloaded pitcher has slowly started to turn brown, starting at the lid. However, the plant still seems to be in good health and I have not noticed any more ants since moving its location. The other two pitchers--the ones that have not yet made pigs out of themselves--are still bright and fresh looking. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img]

  5. #5

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    Even if the pitcher dies the plant will still receive all the nutrients from the ants.
    It's like walking out a door and discovering it's a window.

  6. #6
    Flip_Side_the_Pint's Avatar
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    plus its a new plant so I wouldn't expect every pitcher to survive the stress of relocation...
    https://www.instagram.com/hull.jess/ (I post pics of my plants there)

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