Stories re: appying Nematodes to fight Narcissus Bulb Fly Larvae?

wynswrld98(z7 WA)November 10, 2009

I've had a problem with narcissus bulb fly larvae destroying daffodil bulbs, am about to plant hundreds more daffodils and am considering spraying Nematodes at the ground where I plant in the daffodils (releasing them in spring) as I have read the Nematodes won't survive northern winters (where I am) and have read that Narcissus Bulb Flys usually start releasing their eggs in May.

So is an annual release of Nematodes each April where the daffodils are planted a good plan?

I'm curious of others who have had a problem with Narcissus Bulb Fly Larvae destroying their daffodil bulbs if they've tried Nematodes and any stories they can tell.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've not heard or read of any evidence to support the notion that beneficial nematodes have any impact on the control of narcissus bulb fly. The bulb fly larvae inhabit and feed on the bulb while the nematodes are soil dwellers - it's hard to see how their paths would easily cross. And since the nematodes are a rather pricey approach, I might consider other options first before entering to what might be at best just an expensive experiment:-)

I've attached a link from one of our local extension services that addresses this problem. It might be helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: Narcissus bulb fly

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 11:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
wynswrld98(z7 WA)

I read something about it -- the idea is that the larvae travel from the soil surface down to the bulb and the nematodes will intercept them when they try to travel to the bulbs.

From what I've read it's pretty predictable time of year in spring when the narcissus bulb fly lays eggs and the larvae travel down to the bulbs so if the nematodes are released prior to this sounds to me like a good plan.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 11:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
wynswrld98(z7 WA)

actually one posting I read said predictably May 1 but that was in Indiana, anyone know when the narcissus bulb flys lay their eggs in the Pacific Northwest?

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 11:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm sorry but I still have serious reservations on the effectiveness of using nematodes. First, the larvae are generally nowhere near the soil. The adult fly lays eggs deep into the bulb foliage, sometimes actually tunneling under the paper sheath of the bulb itself to deposit her eggs. They hatch and the maggots immediately start working their way into the bulb itself, where they remain over winter. It is not until they begin to pupate in early spring that they move into the soil and by then it is far too late for nematodes to be of any value.

Beneficial nematodes need warm soil temperatures to regenerate and start feeding, usually around 50F. This generally does not occur in the Puget Sound area until late May, so the timing of this control may be off slightly as well as questions about its effectiveness. And at $20 something a pop for the nematodes, it is kind of an expensive proposition that may or may not have any benefit. Again, after more than 30 minutes of online research, I didn't turn up a single hit that posed nematodes as a control agent for this problem.

FWIW, the flies are typically present in this area in late spring. Promptly removing the dried, spent foliage, especially of early blooming narcissus, should go a long way to control bulb fly damage.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 12:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
linnea56(z5 IL)

This sounds horrible. I would hate to lose mine. How common of a problem is it? I thought iris borers were bad, I didn't know daffodils HAD any pests.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 8:04PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
narcissus bulbs on clearance
Just wanted to share that I bought potted narcissus...
When should you see buds within tulip foliage?
So, I have some tulip foliage sprouting in the garden....
ffreidl z5a
Relocating daffodils
I have a number of daffodil clumps that are either...
Where does everyone order bulbs from?
I was just wondering what websites everyone uses to...
Sponsored Products
Tiepolo Silver Leaf and Sienna Bronze Three-Light Wall Bracket with Firenze Clea
Sea Gull Lighting Outdoor Lighting. Prairie Statement 1-Light Outdoor Antique Br
Home Depot
Citrus Zig Zag Giclee Glow 10 1/4" Wide Pendant Light
$99.99 | Lamps Plus
White LED Step Light Non Dimmable
$56.00 | PLFixtures
Yosemite Home Decor Wall Mounted Merili Collection Wall mount 1-Light Outdoor
$34.20 | Home Depot
Sphere Acrylic Brushed Nickel 4 Swag Chandelier
Euro Style Lighting
Montego Oil Rubbed Bronze Nine-Light Fluorescent Chandelier
$430.95 | Bellacor
Bromi Design BCP1113-6 Crystalline Modern 6 Light Crystal Chandelier - BCP1113-6
$432.00 | Hayneedle
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™