Narcissus Bulb Fly

Noni MorrisonOctober 17, 2010

OK, so it is NOT on my amaryllis, but narcissus! What can I use on my generally organic flower bed to rid it of these critters? I know that desparate measures call for chemicals, And I will use them when a whole crop is threatened. I have probably 2 thousand different daffs around here and 500 more to plant so this is no small question! I use these in my flower business for early spring bouquets, along with hyacinths, then tulips, etc. And I definitely do not want them hanging around my greenhouse where the amaryllis are. I suspected about 3 or 4 years ago that I had gotten NBF in an order of lovely pink narcissus that had mostly disappeared by the 2nd spring. THis was just BEFORE I learned about NBF, but the sudden demise of these special bulbs made it an easy guess. TOday we were weeding the bed ready to plant new bulbs when I found some remnants of NBF infested daffs and hyacinths. Dang, dang, dang! IN case it makes a difference on recommendations I also have cutting roses in this bed. HELP!

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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

Would cayenne pepper deter them???

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 8:01PM
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On Hyacinths, also?
Is that ABSOLUTELY certain?!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 6:03PM
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Noni Morrison

THe bulb was so destroyed I am not positive it was a hyacinth but pretty sure. I did have them interplanted. I was researching on the web last night and it mentioned also alliums and several other spring bulb species, as well as hyacinths that I had not thought of, are vulnerable. And it is true that those have disappeared pretty much from this mixed bed also. I used to have a lot of Allium purple sensation in this bed.

IT sounds like control is critical for about a 3 week period after the flowers bloom, and that a remay hoop house over and tightly sealed would be the esiest organic treatment. Because this bed is interplanted with Freelander roses I will not be able to do that. The "best laid plans of mice and men" etc! Here I thought i was using what would be otherwise wasted space! I Now think I will have to use a chemical drench at that time.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 6:25PM
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Edie(5 NY (Finger Lakes))

Old House Gardens has an article on catching the flies with a butterfly net. One of their customers suggests a flyswatter.

Putting the net over the flowers instead will save you from standing guard and prevent flies from outside of your patch from coming in, but if you've already got NBF in a particular hoop house, they will be trapped under the reemay and go to town in there. If you go with the hoop houses try to isolate the patches of "clean" bulbs from the ones you know are infested.

Other than that, non-organic systemics seem to be the only control. :-(

Now I know why the daffs at my old apartment didn't seem to be multiplying.

Here is a link that might be useful: Old House Gardens' page on NBF

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 7:00PM
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Speaking of the dreaded NBF, today I pulled apart a clump of Aphrodites, one huge bulb with 3 fairly large bulblets, and the mother bulb was literally infested with larvae...! The small bulbs were OK, but I squished 2 large larvae and one small one and had to dig way into the bulb, and cut about half of the basal plate away. I don't know if she will make it but I gave it a try. I poured liquid insecticide in the wound and when it drys I will dust it with Captan and hope for the best. I have also lost several other bulbs this year. So far they have chosen bulbs in pots with many bulblets and always go for the largest one. So far I haven't lost any varieties yet, but this is nasty.I still have about 30+ more pots to pull and who knows what I will find. If it isn't one thing, it's another, but I guess this is better than a virus. At least there is a little satisfaction squishing the culprit....


    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 9:40PM
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