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Why do I have flies on my daylilies?

Now these are not fruitflies. These are large housefly like flies.

I deadhead my day lilies every evening. This is not a rotting carcass, for heavens sake, but huge beautiful flowers! The flowers are bigger then both of my hands combined....I LOVE them....but these stupid flies are driving me crazy!!!!

Anyone else have this problem?
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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

I did a quick google and came up with this.

"Stable Flies
Jeffrey Hahn, Assist. Extension Entomologist


Stable fly. Photo credit:
Jeff Hahn

Whether you are outside at your favorite lake cabin or sitting in your backyard in town, you probably have experienced a problem with flies biting at or near your ankles. These flies, similar in appearance to house flies, are known as stable flies. Stable flies, sometimes called biting house flies or ankle-biters, are about 1/4 - 3/8th and are gray with four longitudinal black stripes on their thorax.

However, while house flies have sponging mouthparts for sopping up liquid food, the mouthparts of stable flies are modified into a long, sharp bayonet-like proboscis. They feed on the blood of not only people but on many other mammals, including dogs, cattle, and horses. They are very persistent and very annoying.

The larvae develop in moist, decaying organic matter, such as urine-soaked straw and other soiled animal bedding, decaying grass clippings, poorly managed compost piles, or other decaying vegetation, preferring sites that are loose and not compact. However, you would not expect to find them in fresh manure. It takes the larvae about nine days to develop before they pupate. The adults appearing about two weeks later. Stable flies are active throughout the summer and into the fall.

Unfortunately stable flies are very difficult to control. Repellents, e.g. DEET, and protective clothes are partially effective in controlling stable flies. Sanitation of potential breeding areas can help but stable flies are strong fliers and can invade your yard from outside your property. If dogs that are outside are sufficiently bothered, protect them by placing them inside a screened kennel."

If this is the critter, looks like your best option would be to identify the breeding site and eliminate or control that.

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See, here's what I don't get.

I don't think they are any kind of biting fly as we aren't bothered by them in that way (just obnoxious buzzing).

There's nothing rotting, compost, urine soaked anything around where my lilies are. Nothing is decaying anywhere in my beds. I deadhead my lilies daily so the flowers don't even get a chance to drop and rot!

This is only in my front yard garden and not in the back. And they are ALL over these lilies!

I should get pictures because they are very noticable.

It's just gross to see all these flies around my really pretty flowers! :shock:
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Location: Virginia

I have the same problem

I as well do not have rotting plants or anything in my garden I just planted it and newly mulched it. The flies are nasty i cant stand them! I have lots of ladybugs on them though they are beautiful. If we get answers on this oneI will be happy!!!

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Mod Emeritus
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Location: Oregon

I usually find a couple of these things come in my house every year, when the county fair is in session. Or at least, they look the same, i.e. striped thorax, etc. The flies I get are very slow. You can actually reach out with a tissue or paper towel and pick them up. I consulted an entomologist online, and he told me that was a trademark of these flies. I don't recall that he referred to them by the name 'stable flies', though.

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I drop my deadheads on the ground. Perhaps they like this rotting flower top?

The Helpful Gardener
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Location: Colchester, CT

I think Alex answered the question. Daylily flowers turn into heaps of "moist, decaying organic matter" overnight. These guys need breeding sites and there they are, just waiting on your plant. That you eliminate them nightly is probably not appreciated by the flies, but they are likely nectaring on those same blossoms (even flies will sip a little nectar for energy, and daylily is about as sugary as it gets), and waiting for that one blossom you let get by you. Keep on keeping on; this too shall pass... attracting somebody to predate on them would be good, say robber flies?

I would plant a composite flower with your daylilies to attract parasitic wasps and robberflies. My personal recommendation would be Luther Burbank's old favorite, Shasta daisy, but only if you use 'Becky'; all the others melt in summer but 'Becky' just keeps going... dead head this one right along with the daylilies and it just keeps blooming until frost..

Scott Reil

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