Large narcissus fly

Den Wilson
Sun, 20 Jun 2004 12:04:22 PDT
Hello all,

It is worth giving a warning about this pest which is very active at this
time of year on warm, sunny days and is more common than generally
appreciated. It would be much better named 'amaryllid fly' because it is not
fussy about the genera it attacks. Usually, by the time the grower is aware
that the bulbs are in trouble the culprit is long gone and the cause is
often mistakenly attributed to bulb-rot. Always cut open soft or rotted
bulbs to see if they have been eaten from within. You may even find the grub
still in residence.

For those unfamiliar with this pest, the large narcissus fly is a master
of disguise which cleverly mimics the honey-bee complete with the loud
'buzz'. But there is an easy way of identifying it; the honey bee is ALWAYS
looking for flowers and pollen but the narcissus fly never does. So, if you
see a lazy 'bee' sunning itself or resting on a leaf it is probably a
narcissus fly. The fly (it is a true fly) overdoes the buzzing effect and is
louder than a wasp or bee and the ear soon becomes attuned to it. At rest
the honey bees wings are held parallel along its back but the fly holds its
wings in the typical 'V' shape of a bluebottle or house fly. I've recently
seen a Blackbird snatch a narcissus fly so let's hear it for the Blackbirds.

Happy hunting.

Den Wilson
Isle of Wight
Zone 8 (maritime) almost frost-free.

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