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What is Eating My Daffodil Flowers? 4 Culprits Busted!

Daffodils make for an exotic choice, be it weddings, birthdays, or simply an impression you are trying to make. They give out trumpet-shaped, colorful flowers too mesmerizing to ignore.

Daffodil plants are known for their nativity in North Europe. However, their pretty flowers grow almost everywhere around the globe.

Narcissus and Jonquil are some of their other names – but we know them best as Daffodils

There are over 13,000 Daffodil varieties for you to choose from. That sure is a lot!

To make studying all of them easier, scientists and botanists have divided this number into approximately 12 different types. The categorize are based on flower size, shapes, corona, and petals.

The bulbs of the Daffodils are poisonous. They come packed with a substance that’s better known as Lycorine.

Yet, certain pests thrive off eating their delectable petals. 

To think that we are 1594 this flower’s only lovers is foolish. While we like adding Daffodils to our gardens or giving them away as gifts, some pests love munching on them.

Let’s take a look 

 

What is Eating My Daffodil Flowers?

Snails and slugs eat daffodil buds and flowers. Daffodil bulbs are often the go-to food for Narcissus grubs. There are also bulb mites that are known to cause damage to wilting Daffodil bulbs, eating them in the process. Squirrels also pick at Daffodil bulbs with sharp claws but don’t eat them.

What is Eating My Daffodil Flowers?

What is Eating My Daffodil Flowers?

 

1) Snails and Slugs

Slugs and snails are the most common pests that eat daffodil flowers

Slugs and snails are the most common pests that eat daffodil flowers

Snails and slugs are the most common pests munching on Daffodil flowers. They eat only the flower, be warned, and not the leaves.

Detecting slug and snail damage is easier by observing the plant’s leaves. You can safely assume it to be slug-and-snail damage if untouched and unscathed. 

To deal with a slug infestation or slug eggs, you need to detect it early. It should be pretty easy if you’re a regular gardener or have a regular gardener on your payroll.

You can get rid of snails and slugs in one of the following ways: 

 

a) Use Frogs and Hedgehogs

Enlist the aid of beings atop the food chain. While your Daffodils are subject to being eaten by slugs, you can let loose frogs and hedgehogs in your gardens.

Frogs and hedgehogs can be used to eliminate the slugs and snails that eat on the daffodil flowers

Frogs and hedgehogs can be used to eliminate the slugs and snails that eat on the daffodil flowers

Frogs are convenient – you can keep a small pool or pond for the amphibians to stay cool and do your bidding: slug-munching.

If you’re talking biological control, frogs are your best bet. Having a bunch of hedgehogs in your garden may not be as convenient. 

 

b) Use Parasitic Nematodes

If you are one for less fanfare and frogs are not on your mind, you could opt for another microscopic alternative.

Parasitic Nematodes are microscopic worms that latch on to slugs and kill them from the inside out. 

Parasitic nematodes, though microscopic in size, are capable of destroying slugs that eat daffodil flowers from inside out

Parasitic nematodes, though microscopic in size, are capable of destroying slugs that eat daffodil flowers from inside out

However, this is one costly affair, and getting your hands on a fresh batch of nematodes is difficult. The cost alone will make you want to stick to some DIY repellent.

You could opt for sprinkling coffee or setting up a bear trap. 

 

c) Handpicking

The best way to rid yourself of a slug infestation eating away at your Daffodils is to pick them up by hand and put them away.

Slugs are nocturnal, and it is better to do this handsy removal at night. Put them in a bucket of soapy water to make room for more. 

 

2) Narcissus Grub

This pest devours Daffodil bulbs. The Narcissus Grub must not be confused with Bulb mites – both munch on Daffodil bulbs but have different ways of being dealt with.

One difference between the two is that the grub infests and eats on fresh buds, whereas the mites don’t work that hard; they infest already diseased or damaged bulbs.

You will find Nematodes will also infest Daffodil bulbs in their quest to find other suitable prey.

In its larval form, before the transition to the Narcissus fly, the Narcissus Grub wreaks quite the damage. The trick is to stop this transition from happening.

The eggs hatch in only a couple of days, and the larva inserts itself into the bulb. In some cases, more than just one egg can hatch at a time, and you will find larvae in the bud.

The inside of the bud will be lined with black excrement as the grub will eat away on the insides. This larva will pupate in the soil at the end of summer and turn into the Narcissus fly. 

Narcissus grubs will become pupae in the summer and become Narcissus flies

Narcissus grubs will become pupae in the summer and become Narcissus flies

To keep the Narcissus grub from munching on your Daffodils, you can:

 

a) Put Up Insect Nests

It all starts with the Narcissus fly laying eggs. An insect nest will prevent these flies from populating your Daffodil field.

Setting insect nests keeps the Narcissus flies from laying their eggs on your daffodils

Setting insect nests keeps the Narcissus flies from laying their eggs on your daffodils

Besides, an insect nest will not only catch the Narcissus fly but many other insects. Keep away hungry bees that sting and blood-sucking mosquitoes.

It becomes a lot more pleasant spending time in your garden without bugs and flies buzzing away in your ears and face. 

 

b) Spray Pyrethrin

The adult Narcissus fly can be exterminated with Pyrethrin-based insecticides. Make sure you spray each bulb – but too excessively.

Spraying the inside of the Daffodil would cause harm. It is recommended that you dab the outside – the petals, to be exact – with this insecticide to curb any damage. 

 

c) Try These Hacks Instead

If you have Basil leaves in your lawn or garden, mow them immediately. This will significantly reduce the larval population in the area. 

If a bulb has already been infested, carefully remove it from the rest of the bulbs so that you nip the spread in the bud – literally.

And lastly, you could use plant varieties that the Narcissus fly does not like. When you overplant, it can sometimes reduce other insects from hovering around, too. 

 

3) Bulb Mites

A bulb mite infestation does only one thing – it infests Daffodil bulbs. These mites are smart.

They will not start an infestation but feast on one already going on. Bulb mites wait for other pests to damage Daffodil bulbs before they can begin an infestation of their own. 

Mites, compared to other pests on this list, are tiny. They’re challenging to detect and quite impossible to look for.

However, you can know a bulb mite infestation when you see one. A stunted, wilting Daffodil plant is the cause of an active mite bulb infestation. 

Stunted, wilting daffodils is a sign that they're infested with bulb mites

Stunted, wilting daffodils is a sign that they’re infested with bulb mites

With these bulbs, it is killed or be killed. One efficient way to rid yourselves of a bulb mite infestation is to introduce another pest into newly bought or grown Daffodils.

Weird, we know. Let’s get into the details of how to rid ourselves of bulb mites. 

 

a) Cosmolaelaps Claviger

The Cosmolaelaps Claviger is a predator and more efficient than the bulb mites. While the mites feast on Daffodil bulbs, the Claviger feasts on the mites.

Be careful with introducing them to the plant – never on the bulbs, always to the soil. 

The Claviger will take care of your little mite problem. You will need to devise a way to starve these predators to death, for they might grow in numbers.

While your Daffodils will remain intact, the Claviger can cause other problems for you. 

Just ensure you don’t have any vegetables or fruit growing nearby. Without food, they will abandon the Daffodils, searching for food. 

 

b) Milticide

Milticide is preventative in nature. Treating your Daffodil bulbs with some will prevent any future infestations.

Flowers do not grow with chemical input, so you need to be careful where you pour the milticide. 

Only dab the bulbs with a small cotton ball dipped in the chemical, gently covering the area. Too much than necessary can halt their growth or cause discoloration.

Daffodils are tricky flowers and take time to grow. You wouldn’t want a field of dead Daffodil bulbs on your hand, would you? 

 

c) Taking Care and Precautions

Bulb mites look for already damaged, wounded Daffodil bulbs. Even if there hasn’t been an infestation, we can sometimes damage nascent flowers, picking at them and whatnot.

When opting for preventative measures like milticide, be very careful. Just a nip is enough to set the wander mites off. 

Wear gloves when handling not just Daffodils but all of your flowers. Be gentle when cleaning your flowers and watering them.

These small precautions can mean the difference between healthy, blooming flowers and a graveyard of dead bulbs.

All in all, bulb mites are a lot like spider mites and you can deal with them in the same way.

 

4) Other Pests

Apart from the three mentioned above, your Daffodils are in danger from the Ditylenchus dipsaci – or Daffodil nematodes. These prey on Daffodil bulbs and roots, sucking the life out of them.

You will begin to see stunted growth in the bulbs until they eventually will discolor, wither, and die. 

Moving to bigger predators, let us not forget to consider animals like squirrels, chipmunks, and birds. For nematodes, a solution of Formalin works best.

Make a diluted solution of water and Formalin and pour some into the soil.

As for animals, ensure you keep your flowers away from fruit plants and bear traps out to trap animals and safely remove them from them. 

 

Conclusion

Your Daffodils are your responsibility. Be vigilant to rid yourselves of common Daffodil pests like bulb mites, Narcissus Grubs, slugs, nematodes, and animals.

Whatever insecticide you use must be used in moderation to prevent chemical damage or stunted growth. 

Whenever handling your Daffodils, be careful. You do not want to damage your Daffodils, as this leaves doors open for pests to swoop in on the wounds.

Make sure you do not grow any fruit trees where you have your Daffodils. This will keep any animals away. 

Taking care of your Daffodils gets easier with time – all you need to do is be committed. 

Author Bio

Daniel Iseli

Taking care of houseplants and gardening are my greatest passions. I am transforming my apartment into an urban jungle and am growing veggies in my indoor and outdoor garden year-round.