Merodon equestris

Merodon equestris

profile iconNarcissus bulb fly (Merodon equestris)
by Richard Avery (CC BY-SA 3.0)
1 of 5
A close up of Merodon equestris Narcissus bulb fly
profile iconNarcissus bulb fly (Merodon equestris)
by Richard Avery (CC BY-SA 3.0)
1 of 5
Narcissus bulb fly, or, Merodon equestris, is a bee-mimicking hoverfly whose larvae feed on plant bulbs, more specifically, the bulbs of plants belonging to the Narcissus genus. These flies are frequently sighted in the garden as well as in flowery suburban habitats. There are also variants within the species, where each mimics a different species of bumblebee. Mimicry in nature is an evolutionary adaptation that's used as a form of defence. In other words, these flies trick other wildlife into thinking they have a nasty sting, so predators tend to keep their distance.
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Traits

Hoverflies are considered as the next best pollinators following the bees.
Larvae will eat the bulbs of daffodils.

Appearance

Like a bee! 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. Only one larva will infect a bulb. They look like plump, creamy-white grubs. They are nearly 2cm long.

Symptoms

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.

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Diptera

Family

Syrphidae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

This fly is widespread across Europe. They were recently introduced to America. They're present in 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.

Attracts

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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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