Belongs to: hoverflies

Narcissus fly Merodon equestris

Also known as: bulb fly, large narcissus fly

Best time to see: mid Apr to mid Aug

Key facts

A hoverfly that looks like a bumblebee and is seen as a pest because its young feed on bulbs such as daffodils

Habitat: any warm sunny sheltered spot, including open woods and gardens

Distributed across most of Britain and Ireland


A bee mimic, wings up to 11mm across, with a range of colour forms: thorax black or tawny; tail red, white or yellow

Densely haired like a bumblebee and easy to be fooled, but is a bit longer in the body and has larger eyes


Females lay their eggs at the base of bulbs, including bluebells and daffodils, and also dandelions

The young burrow into the root, where they live for about 300 days before pupating in the soil and emerging as adults

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© Tony Gunton