Gobble Up! What You Need to Know About the Pest Control Pitcher Plant


Plenty of pests rampage our agriculture, but luckily for us there are natural ways to get rid of these creatures. Aside from getting help from our trusted pest control service, there are also plants that manifest the same act of pest control.  As a matter of fact, there are many carnivorous plants that love to munch on their own prey.

Today we are shining the spotlight on a specific plant and that is none other than the pitcher plant. It is perhaps the most mysterious leaf in the whole wide universe. With its unique ability to obtain food, pitcher plants are definitely one of the most magnificent carnivorous plants out there. To further discuss on this topic, here are a few things you might want to know:

About Carnivorous Pitcher Plants

Pitcher plants resemble goblets of all shapes and sizes. There are two large families of monocots wherein these meat-eating pitcher plants belong to: The Old World, Nepenthaceae and the New World, Sarraceniaceae. Pitchers from the Old World family live high above trees, but unfortunately they don’t have that much food source up there so they resort to waiting for helpless victims. Meanwhile, the New World family members enjoy their abundant food source by being on the ground. Unlike its relatives who live up in the tress, these pitchers can form a whole pitcher out of its leaf.

How Pitcher Plants Eat

Pitcher plants have a unique feature for them to attract their prey. It is a deep cavity filled with liquid known as a pitfall trap, which lures flying and crawling insects. This area of cavity is formed by the cupped leaf. The sides of the pitcher are slippery and it is grooved in such a way to ensure the insects can’t climb out after they get to the trap.  When the pitcher digests, the prey is converted into a solution of amino acids, peptides, phosphates, ammonium and urea from which the plant obtains its nutrition.

How did they become meat-eating?

You might shake your head and wonder, “what?. Not long ago this simple and harmless leaf wasn’t the carnivorous and meat-eating plant it is now, and it’s all thanks to natural selection! This means nature has favored the growth of leaves with larger dents until it became what we know today. The plant evolved because it has found that eating small insects could give it the necessary protein, nitrogen and other minerals it couldn’t get from simply seeping from the soil.

Pitcher plants are indeed exotic and fascinating plants, but unfortunately, they are also prone to the same problems that affect any other plant; just because they feed on insects doesn’t mean they are not open to becoming a target of infestation. If you own a garden with pitcher plants or you happen to have a farm of them, make sure they are well-taken care of. For insect infestation problems, simply call us up!

HUNGRY! 3 Insect Gobblin’ Plants

It seems evolution does have its quirks. You’d think plants thrive only on water, sun and air but actually, there are plants that include pests in their diet. These are what we call carnivorous or insectivorous plants. They have adapted to environments that provide them with low nutrient concentrations. This is probably why these plants thrive in fens and bogs because they get to be exposed to an abundance of sunshine and water, even if they’re in low nutrient environments. Their main strategy is to attract and capture prey, something that we usually observe in animals.

Let’s check out some of nature’s very own pest control services.

Snap Traps: Venus Flytrap


The speed with which the Venus Flytrap captures various insects and arachnids has baffled biologists since Charles Darwin’s time. There was a theory the movement of water within the plant is what allows it to move its jaws fast, but this was recently scrapped, and the search for a biologically and physically possible explanation continues.

Once an insect is drawn into one of the traps and touches more than one sensitive hair, the trap will snap. If the insect struggles to get out, more of the hair outgrowths get triggered, and trap will tighten its grip even more while releasing digestive enzymes.

Pitfall Trap: Nepenthes


Found mostly in the subtropical regions of Asia, the Nepenthes is a genus of pitcher plants that has more than 110 species diverse in size, shape, and color. The Nepenthes has modified leaves that form a pitfall trap or deep cavity filled with liquid where prey is captured. To attract insects, it secretes a kind of sugary nectar on the rims of the pitcher cavity. Once an unwary insect follows this sweet aroma on the rim, they will almost immediately slip into the pitcher.

Within the cavity, waxy crystals make it hard for insects to climb back up. The pitcher will then secrete another fluid, this time digestive enzymes to dissolve the insect in order for them to extract and absorb the nutrients.

Flypaper Traps: Drosera


Commonly known as Sundews, the genus Drosera is a plant with at least 194 species and can be found on every continent except for Antarctica. Like the Venus Flytrap, Sundews are also notorious for capturing their prey at jaw-dropping speeds. They make use of their mucilage-covered tentacles to curl around their prey. Mucilage is a thick, gooey, glue-like substance that “sticks” the insect to the tentacle, making it impossible for them to escape. If the prey tries to struggle, it will only prompt the Sundew to speed up the process.

The Sundew got its name from sticky drops at the end of each tentacle that closely resembles morning dew on plants. It is called a flypaper trap because of the  unique way it ensnares its prey. Sundews make use of another set of tentacles— longer and touch sensitive—to snap forward and throw the insect with great force into flypaper like traps where the sticky tentacles can move it for digestion.

These hungry plants are just some of the numerous carnivorous plants seen around the world. There are other varieties such as Lobster Pot or Bladder Traps. Now… isn’t Mother Nature cool?