Mary Lou Gripshover, Ohio

Flowers are gone . . .now the flies have arrived

May 15, 2016

Categories: Bulb Fly, Diseases and Pests

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The daffodils have finished blooming, but while I was out weeding a day ago, I heard the familiar buzz of the daffodil fly.  They’re too fast for me to catch, but while I was photographing other flowers, this one sat down just long enough for a photo.IMG , daff fly, cropIMG , daff fly, crop  Time to get out the chemicals.

10 responses to “Flowers are gone . . .now the flies have arrived”

  1. Margaret Macneale, Minnesota Margaret Macneale, Minnesota says:

    Thanks for the photos, Mary Lou!  For years everyone said that the bulb fly could not survive Minnesota’s winters, but that idea was blown up several years ago when I found firm evidence of the damage in my garden.  (Another climate change impact?)  But I’ve never had a crystal clear picture so I was sure I was killing the correct thing, and not some innocent bee.  You have provided that.  May I have permission to use these two photos (attributed, of course) in a newsletter to our members?  Thanks again.

    Margaret Macneale, President, Daffodil Society of Minnesota

  2. Mary Lou Gripshover, Ohio Mary Lou Gripshover, Ohio says:

    Certainly, Margaret.  Anything to help eradicate the pest!

  3. Suzy Wert, Indiana says:

    Now there is a PHOTO, up close and personal!  Mary Lou, what kinds of chemicals do you use on bulb flies?  Bee spray doesn’t work, but it shoots well.  Fly spray might work, but it doesn’t shoot — its sort of a foggy mist, ad I’ve never been able to get close enough.  If you have the brand and the kind, it would be great info.


  4. Margaret Macneale, Minnesota Margaret Macneale, Minnesota says:

    Suzy, I have sometimes used wasp/hornet spray (Raid brand is in my garage right now), which shoots well.  It is not an immediate killer like it is for wasps, but it does seem to get them – just a slower death.  The challenge is getting it sprayed on them before they move!  Nasty pests.  I’ll be very interested to know what Mary Lou and others use.


  5. Mary Lou Gripshover, Ohio Mary Lou Gripshover, Ohio says:

    I have used Raid wasp and hornet spray, but it kills the foliage of anything it hits.  And as Margaret said, the challenge is getting them sprayed before they move!  I have a bag of Bayer Complete Insect Control, and the main ingredient is imidaclopid, which I’ll spread around close to the base of the foliage–as soon as I get rid of the biggest weeds.  Clay Higgins uses a liquid form.  Clay, maybe you can tell us how you use it.

    Mary Lou

  6. Margaret Macneale, Minnesota Margaret Macneale, Minnesota says:

    I have used the Bayer product in the past, but imidaclopid is one of the nasty “neonics” that are believed to be killing bees and other pollinators.  By using it, are we contributing to that problem?  I believe there’s talk of banning it.  I have hesitated to continue using it – I like my pollinators!  Those who know more about these things than I do, please chime in!

    Margaret Macneale

  7. Bob Spotts, California Bob Spotts, California says:


    Get a butterfly net. With the long handle, you can cover reach the fly when it lands and cover it with the net – and then step on it. Much better than the chemicals.




  8. Mary Lou Gripshover, Ohio Mary Lou Gripshover, Ohio says:

    I mentioned using a butterfly net in my last Journal article, but I wasn’t very successful using it.   🙂  Clay has mentioned using a liquid form of imidaclopid and he sprays only at the base of the foliage, to protect the pollinators.  Maybe Clay will jump in on this discussion.

  9. Suzy Wert, Indiana says:

    margaret, the label is pretty scary and specifically mentions bees. If I grew mine in rows with nothing around them, I’d consider using it, But I grow my standards in vinca and among the windflowers which bloom at the exact time the grubs need to be treated. These are buzzing with all kinds of insects on a sunny day.

    I still use a butterfly net. I used to have a really great one, courtesy of John Beck, but it had an altercation with a rose bush…and lost. I later found out that in a former life, it had a different kind of net on it and was used for FISHING. It was 14″ in diameter, and those suckers couldn’t fly fast enough to get out from under it. Now I use a children’s butterfly net. It’s certainly not as good as my old one, but I have learned a lot about the bulb fly and I have also learned where to ambush them in my garden. I have an article at Old House gardens which includes little tips, like wearing a gray or khaki colored shirt when you are trying to net them if you haven’t already seen it.

    I also use a physical barrier, but I use it the opposite of our downunder friends from whom I got the idea. From what I understand, they put the net over the foliage where they think the fly will emerge to trap it in. I use it to keep them out if the miniatures. Hunter green tulle netting. Joann Fabrics 75% off sale.


  10. Margaret Macneale, Minnesota Margaret Macneale, Minnesota says:

    Thanks so much, all – I have learned so much from this discussion.  And Suzy, your article in Old House Gardens is great!  I clearly missed it when it was in the Journal.  I will be referencing all of this, and using Mary Lou’s photos, in a newsletter to our Minnesota members.  Then I need to go find a butterfly net!  Thanks again, everyone!

    Margaret Macneale