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Narcissus Bulb Fly

Merodon equestris

Narcissus Bulb Fly , Greater Bulb Fly, Large Bulb Fly, Large Narcissus Fly

Narcissus bulb fly (Merodon equestris)

by Richard Avery. CC BY-SA 3.0

A close up of Merodon equestris Narcissus bulb fly
Narcissus Bulb Fly, or, Merodon equestris, is a bee-mimicking hoverfly whose larvae bore into the bulbs of plants in the genus Narcissus. They're also known to infest the bulbs of Crocus and Snowdrop. Merodon equestris is frequently sighted in gardens as well as in suburban habitats with abundant flowers. The main symptoms include bulb death or failure to produce flowers. If an infestation is suspected, bulbs should be dug up and disposed of as soon as possible.
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Hoverflies are great pollinators.
Larvae will eat the bulbs of Daffodils and Snowdrops.


Adults: They look convincingly bee-like! These flies have evolved over the years to (almost) perfectly replicate a bumblebee. They are large, reaching 1.5cm. They are fluffy, like bees- and this makes them great for pollinating flowers. They possess some banding, which starts with orange fur, leading to a black thorax, with their rears brownish-yellow. Larvae: One larva will infect a bulb. They look like plump, creamy-white grubs. They are nearly 2cm long.


Infested bulbs are often killed. Infested bulbs do not tend to produce flowers. Leaves which do grow can be stunted and yellow. Damage is not normally recognised until it's too late.











Europe, America and some parts of Asia

Biological treatment

These flies dislike shade, so they can be avoided by planting daffodils and other bulbous plants near cover. Firm down the spoil once bulbs have been planted. This will make it harder for females to deposit eggs. Be sure to buy good quality bulbs and inspect them carefully before planting in the garden.

Chemical treatment

There are currently no appropriate forms of chemical control available for home gardeners.



Narcissus spp.


Galanthus spp.

Some pink Amaryllis flowers on a plant

True Amaryllis

Amaryllis spp.


Galtonia spp.


Hyacinthus spp.


Iris spp.


Lilium spp.


Leucojum spp.


Scilla spp.

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