The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 12

Q: Should I kill these little bugs on my plant?

A: People e-mail me in a fury about the horrible bugs crawling on their plants. They interpret the mere existence of these arthropods as an affront, an insult! Their monologues are so livid, I can easily imagine their spittle of apoplectic rage splattered across their computer screens.

But let us become calm. Placid. Find our happy space. And let us ask...must we kill everything? Is this bug really bad? I have, over time, observed that there are three classes of offending bugs that people tell me they want to kill...

Harmless bugs: Are the bugs crawling around on your plant harmless? Then do not kill them! Enjoy their pretty carapaces, let the plant eat them, or let them fly away---whatever---but do not risk harming your plant with petrochemicals just because you do not like the idea of little bugs on your plant. The world is full of bugs. (I bet there is one in your hair right now. Maybe there are two. Look! I can see them from here, and they are mating! Now they are dropping eggs all over your scalp...)

Is this "bad"?
Little tiny bugs that crawl around the soil: Chances are, these little things are living on the decaying matter in your plant's soil. The critters are so tiny you should not waste your time worrying about them. Trying to control them could kill your plants, too!

Bugs SERIOUSLY damaging the plant: Even if the bugs are nibbling on the plant a little, they might not be doing enough damage to merit control measures. Remember if you apply pesticides, you will may inadvertantly be killing all the desirable bugs that your plant would want to feed on. Only worry about killing the bugs if they really are pests, and are damaging your plants.

Page citations: Rice, B.A. 2006a; personal observation.

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Revised: 2018
©Barry Rice, 2018