Narcissus Fly

Merodon equestris

About

A common medium-sized hoverfly, often found in gardens, the Narcissus Fly (also known as the 'Greater Bulb Fly') is a bumblebee mimic. Adults feed on nectar and pollen and can be seen around flowers like dandelions from March to August. Males can be spotted flying low over short grass in search of females. While females can be seen on the dying leaves of bulbous plants, such as Daffodils, Narcissi and Bluebells, where they lay their eggs. The larvae hatch and burrow into the bulb underground, feeding on it and even destroying it.

How to identify

Covered in ginger hairs, with a black band around the middle and creamy tail, the Narcissus Fly is one of several species of bumblebee-mimic hoverflies. Common around Daffodils and Bluebells.

Where to find it

Widespread.

Habitats

When to find it

  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August

How can people help

The larvae of the Narcissus Fly are known for damaging bulbs, and can be a pest to gardeners and those in the flower trade. However, many of our commonly overlooked insects are important pollinators for all kinds of plants. The Wildlife Trusts recognise the importance of healthy habitats to support all kinds of species throughout the food chain, so look after many nature reserves for the benefit of wildlife. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from coppicing to craft-making, to stockwatching to surveying.

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Species information

Common name
Narcissus Fly
Latin name
Merodon equestris
Category
Invertebrates
Flies
Statistics
Length: 1-1.5cm
Conservation status
Common.