Not a Bee - Narcissus Bulb Fly

It looks like a bumble bee, but the face and antennae are not quite right; in fact it is a type of hoverfly. The Narcissus Bulb Fly (Merodon equestris, #495) is another non-native garden pest, this time a long-term one, imported (no doubt with foreign bulbs) around 200 years ago, it lays its eggs on the dying leaves of daffodils and other bulbs, where its larvae burrow down to feed on the inside of the bulb. This one was in and among my daffs. Usually there is only one larva per bulb, but as it lives in the bulb for a year it has plenty of time to eat the heart of the bulb, including the developing flower bud. The emerging adults only live for a week or two, during May/June. Its bee-like appearance is thought to be a deterrent to would-be predators.

#495 Narcissus Bulb Fly (Merodon equestris)

#495 Narcissus Bulb Fly (Merodon equestris)

Cutworm - Moth larva

After last week’s Vine Weevil, here’s another one from the rogues gallery of horrendous garden pests; a cutworm, so-called because of the way they nip off seedlings at ground level. These are moth caterpillars that live in the ground, coming out at night to voraciously munch their way around the garden. There are several species of noctuid moth that have ground-living larvae. This one might be from the Turnip Moth (Agrotis segetum), which has a particular reputation as an vegetable-growers nightmare; however due to the lack of features it’s hard to say. Not a very pretty thing either, but certainly looking well fed.

Moth larva.jpg