Oh noooooooo........

paxfleurDecember 13, 2008

Guess what I found buzzing around in my guest room that houses my amaryllises?

The picture is not mine, but is exactly what I killed about 30 minutes ago. This is the notorious narcissus fly but is the lesser narcissus fly that can lay up to 20-30 eggs/larvas PER bulb. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh........does anyone have any idea how one can pin-point from which bulbs the flies fly out of? I have about 50 bulbs in my guestroom and the only bulb that looks kind of shabby is my 'Pink Floyd'. What do I look for? Holes on the side of the bulbs? No leaves? I'm so stressed and upset right now that I don't know what to do. I feel bad for the bee colony collapse but come next spring, I'm going to be spraying any little bugs that come near my garden (including bumblebees) with the exception of the obvious honeybees.

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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

Look for extremely poor new growth, almost stopped growing and dying new center leaves, or no growth at all. The bulb will soft, but you have to unearth it to look for holes in the basal plate, more central to the plate than in the root area. We have the other damn fly up here, good luck my friend!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 5:10AM
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I wonder if a systemic insecticide would help at this point? If you could catch and kill the eggs before they hatch, or at least the larvae stage... would a systemic be enough?

I'm so sorry to hear about this, Pax... :-(

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 10:06AM
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:( :( :( if it's poor growth, I'm pretty sure the victim is my "Pink Floyd" :( :( :( My 'Pink Floyd' has no growth at all and just aborted a scape that was only 3 cms out and the center has no leaves and looks like it's blackening from within. I'm going to unearth that bulb right this instant....:( :(

Chaz -- we have BOTH Narcissus flies....I saw two of those huge bubble bee looking flies last summer but only managed to kill one of them. The darn buggers would not leave my daffodils alone. :(

Jodi -- I'm going to really consider systematic insecticides. :(

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 2:43PM
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Can anyone help identify if this bulb is the culprit motherboard of these devil-spawned flies?? My 'Pink Floyd' has looked like this ever since I forced dormancy on it and is the most shabby looking bulb out of my collection. No leaves and one aborted scape so far:


    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 4:13PM
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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

Pax, the basal plate looks pretty clear to me, the top/neck rot is troubling though. Also as it has aborted a scape (was it rotted onthe bottom?) may be a sign of the insides being devoured. If the flys have already hatched out of that bulb they exited through the neck. Stick a toothpick or something down that neck and see if you come up with rot. One of the things the maggot do when the growth point is destroyed is trigger the bulbs to produce bulblets, is it normal for pink floyd to produce offsets like those it has already done? If it were mine, now I'm not telling you what to do here because that basal plate is clear. But, if it were mine I'd do a heat treatment or chip the bulb now while there is healthy plate left. Also be sure to check the offsets as the maggot can eat it's way from one bulb to another if they are touching.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 4:24PM
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Pax...That bulb has Stagnospora as you can see the rot starting at the bulb neck that would eventually consume the scale down to the basal plate(sides). This is treatable. Clean all red markings, submerge whole bulb in zinc or copper based fungicide mix (I use Mancozeb) for like 30 minutes. Let air dry for a day. Paint with Captan. Plant.

Narcissus Bulb Fly attack!!!

Entry point

Exit point

The indestructible larva inside the bulb. Once taken out of the bulb, it simply dries out and die. No need to "squish". But if you need to...DO IT!!!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 4:47PM
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Eeeeeew! Thanks, Maria for the pics! I have never had those, to my knowledge. I have learned to watch for the the spanish moth caterpillars. Quite pretty and very visible and easy to remove. I dread the thought of being attacked by the narcissus fly, but I suppose it could happen someday.

Pax, Take a dry paper towel (or many) and gently rub off all the wet brown stuff. Use a razor blade sharp knife to cut off the neck portion until you see absolutely NO soft spots.

Dry the cut areas with paper towel, then wait a few hours, dry again, and as Maria said, dust really well with CAPTAN. The stuff works for me.

I received a Lima bulb with a soft/rotting neck and did that. It worked and I was in awe with the blooms. I still have the bulb and it blooms every year.

Good Luck!!!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 5:26PM
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I'm so sorry you guys had/have these problems with your bulbs... and I thank you for posting pictures and explaining exactly what's going on and how to fix it! These posts are incredibly educational, and absolutely necessary for those of us who haven't yet experienced either rot or Narcissus bulb fly problems.

So, thank you... for taking the time to post such detailed photos, and to explain how to save these bulbs!

Pax, I hope you're able to save your Pink Floyd!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 5:48PM
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Pink Floyd has a special place in my heart. I adore this one, so when I see the problems that Pax is having, my heart does a tumble!

The roots look great and so healthy. There is no doubt in my mind that this bulb and its babies can be saved.

I am just sad to see that Pax is having this problem. I wonder if this is why it is so hard to find Pink Floyd on the market this season.

If I could afford it, I would have dozens of Pink Floyds. OMG! Pink Floyd is special!!!!

Keep us posted!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 7:04PM
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For what it's worth, my Pink Floyd looks terrible also -- it always has, and it didn't grow roots until the middle of August. It has never bloomed for me. I let ETG know. She said she would send me a new one with my next order. I'm still waiting for it and the bulb I ordered. Water dribbled into it from a plant on the shelf above, so I repotted it instead of waiting for it to dry on its own. The roots that it finally grew look wonderful. Pax, I'm so sorry about that devil fly. I think all of us folks fear that just about more than anything else. Good luck with saving the bulb, if that is the one that had housed that beast. As much as those pictures grossed me out, thanks so much Maria for providing them and the info on Stagnospora. The more we see, the more we learn, even if we don't like to look at the pictures. Thanks to everybody for all the input.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 11:06PM
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Wow, that really sucks.

Look on the bright side though, at least you caught it early before all your bulbs got infected.

Good luck with the recuperation!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2008 at 3:16AM
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I know I've said this before, but since I've been having such good luck with it, I'll say it again... you guys should look into a bonsai type of medium to grow some of your bulbs in... especially the ones that exhibit such a fondness for rot.

The type I use is made of pine bark fines and inorganic grit, which can be as simple as a plain clay-based kitty litter. I add perlite and crushed charcoal, a tiny bit of vermiculite, and maybe a handful of potting soil.

This type of medium is extremely fast draining and very porous, and my bulbs are doing great in it! It might not work as good for those in hot climates, because you'd have to water way more often... but for those of us in northern climates, it really helps keep the moisture where it belongs, and it doesn't stay wet for very long.

I'll post a couple of links... interesting reading and a good soil source.



The links I provided above have great information on soils and mediums... basically, we need to treat our bulbs similarly to bonsai, if you think about it. Drainage is crucial!

The link below is a good source for this type of medium.

Here is a link that might be useful: bonsai potting medium

    Bookmark   December 14, 2008 at 11:14AM
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