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bulb flies

Posted by gree-knees 6a (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 24, 08 at 10:18

I've been reading here trying to learn. Several of you have mentioned bulb flies. What are they, do they kill the bulbs, and how do you prevent an infestation??? Thank you. Anita


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RE: bulb flies

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Fri, Oct 24, 08 at 11:13

Welcome to the Forum, Anita!

If you mean the Narcissus Bulb Fly, prevention can be as easy as keeping your potted Hippeastrum bulbs indoors year 'round. However, it's better for your bulbs to be outdoors for the summer, so they can get enough sunshine to recharge for their next bloom cycle. Narcissus Bulb Flies are not normally found indoors.

Prevention outdoors can be as easy as throwing tightly woven netting over your bulbs to keep the flies off the plants, or using a systemic insecticide or other spray to keep the flies away.

If you're talking about fungus gnats, they do little harm to indoor or outdoor bulbs, but are very annoying. Those can be controlled by bottom watering your pots and keeping the top of the soil a bit drier; fungus gnats thrive in moist environments. You can swat the adults to kill them, and use an insecticide for houseplants or ornamental plants on the hatchlings. A few consecutive sprays should take care of the problem.

Here is a link that might be useful: Narcissus Bulb Fly Information


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RE: bulb flies

jodik, thank you for the info on the bulb flies. I have had my papilio for several years but had never sought any data about it or things that could harm it. Thank you again, I think next summer I'll do some preventive spraying before I put it outdoors again. So it's probably fine this year or I would have seen discoloration, right? Anita


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RE: bulb flies

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 28, 08 at 6:41

Actually, I'm not sure if you'd see signs of a Narcissus Fly problem... they usually lay an egg inside a bulb by boring through the basal plate at the bottom... once the larvae grows inside the bulb, it's pretty much a goner. The larvae will destroy the bulb from the inside out.

If you do a search here in the forum, you'll find information and photos of a Papilio that was infested with this pest. The adult bulb was a loss, but I believe some of the offsets were salvaged.

It really does bear looking into if you plan on bringing your bulbs outdoors for the summer. Your area may not have this pest in abundance, and so you may not have to worry... but if Narcissus Flies are in your area, it would definitely pay to take precaution.


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RE: bulb flies

Jodik, I'm just east of St. Louis, Mo., in Illinois zone 6a, probably not too far from you. I'll keep lurking and learning. Thanks. Anita


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RE: bulb flies

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 1, 08 at 10:32

We're sort of neighbors, then... I'm about 20 minutes west of Champaign, and about equal distance east of Decatur. We're zone 5b, so you're probably a little southwest of us.

I would imagine Narcissus Bulb Flies are in your area, as they are here... the good news is, they're not a large population as far as I can tell. I would still use caution and preventative measures when bringing any bulbs outdoors for the summer.

While you'll learn quite a bit lurking here, it's much more fun to join in! Please join us this season! We discuss everything... from Hippeastrums and other Amaryllids, to family and friends, our pets and other gardening projects, and the pictures posted are simply wonderful! Do join in!

I think you'll find that this is the friendliest forum on GW, and everyone here is wonderfully helpful and generous! I stopped by last summer to ask a question, and I haven't left since! LOL! It's my "home on the net"!

Happy Gardening!


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