When early Spring comes around, so do our beloved golden daffodils. They have the power to positively brighten up any environment. They stay in bloom anywhere between six weeks and six months, so when we’re lucky enough to have them around, it goes without saying that we want them in as healthy condition as they possibly can be.
Unfortunately, there are a few pests that just can’t keep away. In fact, they go as far as to eat them!
So, what eats daffodil flowers? Snails, slugs, narcissus grub, bulb mites, and nematodes are known to eat Daffodils. As they are poisonous to animals, thankfully, the likes of rodents, deer, and rabbits should still steer well clear of them.
Read on to find out more about those possible culprits before we look at how you can stop them from preying on your daffodils moving forward.
What Is Eating My Daffodils?
Slugs and Snails
Both slugs and snails are the predominant culprits as far as daffodils are concerned. Their poisonous nature doesn’t phase them.
They’re happy to chomp away at the flowers with no mercy. Sometimes, they’ll even head on over to the leaves and stems, although this is less common.
They tend to get to work at night time, so it’s fairly unlikely that you’ll catch them in action.
Rather, you’ll know they’ve been around by the plethora of holes they leave behind.
The narcissus grub is the larvae of the narcissus fly.
Narcissus grub has garnered an unfortunate reputation for its ability to permanently damage daffodils.
They do so by feeding on their bulbs over the winter months. In turn, the daffodils struggle to distribute energy as needed, which affects the way in which they bloom.
I.e., it becomes less and less likely that they will flower healthily if they do flower at all!
Meanwhile, when Spring comes around, the grubs retreat from the now-damaged bulb and, soon enough, emerge from the soil in the form of narcissus flies.
Bulb mites function in colonies, and they only do so when a bulb is already damaged. It is only then that they can infiltrate the daffodil bulbs and feed away on them.
As a result, the bulbs begin to rot, and they do so at an alarming rate. And only to add a little salt to the wound, not only do the pesky little mites feed on the bulbs, but they also carry bad bacteria, which, of course, adversely affect the daffodils further.
Daffodils are perennial, meaning that they technically should re-bloom every year.
So if you notice that they fail to flower in the Springtime, they may well have suffered from significant bulb damage.
It seems the buds can’t catch a break. They are the prey of choice for daffodil nematodes too!
Whilst compared to bulb mites and narcissus grub; nematodes destroy the bulbs at a more leisurely pace, they destroy them nonetheless.
As a result, both the daffodil’s buds and roots find themselves to be compromised, and the plants consequently struggle to develop.
If you notice rows of daffodils missing, nematodes are most likely the reason.
How Do I Stop My Daffodils From Being Eaten?
Fortunately, there are measures that can be taken to prevent your daffodils from being eaten and ensure a healthy bloom year after year!
Below, we’ve shared the most common of the bunch.
This approach is a long-proven one as far as snails and slugs are concerned.
However, you’ll need to bear in mind that these creatures are nocturnal, so it will be a nighttime effort.
Simply hand-pick each bug you see on your daffodil plants, checking all surfaces carefully.
Next, either relocate them to an area of no risk or, if you’re comfortable doing so, drop them into a bucket of soapy water.
The latter will kill them, and you’ll subsequently avoid the risk of their return.
Another solution is to utilize slug and snail pellets.
They can be found in any garden store and are typically intended to be scattered on the soil around your daffodils.
The pellets contain attractants that effectively lure the slugs and snails toward them but are entirely poisonous.
Hence, the bugs will die before they have any chance of reaching your daffodils. However, poisonous pellets are pretty risky.
They are highly toxic and can be harmful to alternative animal life, and humans too. Thus, we recommend using them sparingly, if at all!
Sharp edges are no go zones for slugs and snails. Hence, adding crushed eggshells or wood chips to the soil around the vicinity of your daffodils is an effective deterrent.
Coffee grounds, although not sharp, function in a similar manner. Essentially, the slugs dislike the bitter taste, and thus, stay well away!
Finally, if you just can’t kick the slugs, you may want to enlist a frog or hedgehog to help you!
Their main prey is slugs, and if they happen to coexist alongside them in your garden, it won’t be long before the slugs are wiped out.
You can effectively control the volume of narcissus flies in your garden through the use of an insect net or sticky trap.
Doing so will prevent their grub from subsequently infesting your daffodil bulbs.
However, it is worth noting that said nets do not discriminate, and even bees, our beloved pollinators, will be at risk. So, be sure to use them in the right seasons!
Cosmolaelaps claviger is a predator of bulb mites; the introduction of these beneficial mites will significantly reduce the presence of your bulb mites, if not wipe them out altogether.
Replacing The Daffodils
You may well discover that your daffodils are irreparable.
In this case, it is best for you to replace them altogether, as well as refresh the soil around them.
This will prevent previous infestations from carrying over and continuing to wreak havoc in your garden.
How Do I Get My Daffodils To Flower Again?
Daffodils are poisonous, so in a way, we’re lucky that we don’t have to deal with them being eaten by rats, rabbits, and the like.
However, it is evident that the creatures that do go for our daffodils pose a significant threat.
A fatal threat.
As a result, getting your daffodils to flower again may not be realistic.
Oftentimes, you will only be aware of bulb damage when they fail to bloom as they should in the Springtime. In such a case, you’ll need to replace them.
Attacks by slugs and snails are quite different.
When the daffodil flowers have been eaten, there is a strong likelihood that their foliage will re-emerge, and you won’t have to replant them.
Either way, prevention certainly trumps intervention! To help, we’ve gathered a few tips for you below!
Remove Existing Predators
First, remove any existing predators, and if the daffodil bulbs have been destroyed beyond repair, replace them, pronto.
Remember to ensure that the soil is healthy too. Only then can you reduce the risk of a further infestation.
Fertilizer is a big help too!
Namely, a slow-release fertilizer.
This will give the daffodil’s bulbs a helping hand, enabling the plant to grow and thrive as best as it can.
Additionally, pruning your daffodils is fundamental in generating room for healthy growth moving forward.
You should only begin to cut your daffodils back once their leaves have turned yellow, around six weeks after the end of their flowering period.
Be Careful With Them
Our final tip pertains to the planting of the daffodils.
When you initially go ahead and plant them, try to make sure that you are gentle with their bulbs.
As soon as they experience any damage, you run the risk of a fully-fledged bulb mite invasion!
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