What Eats Daffodil Bulbs?
The daffodil is a member of the hardy narcissus family and is toxic to most animals. At times a gardener will notice that the flower bed area has been dug or tunneled into and bulbs are in pieces or missing. Plants may emerge with stunted leaves and buds that may not blossom. The gardener must figure out what is eating the daffodil bulbs to save the spring garden flower.
Bulb mites feed on a bulb that is already being attacked by a disease or daffodil bulb pest. The bulbs will have damaged and weak, soft tissues. Bulb mites only infest bulbs that are diseased. Be sure to inspect newly purchased or stored bulbs before planting them in your pots or flower beds. The mites will infest field bulbs, root systems and basal stems.
The narcissus grub is one of the most likely culprits that feeds on daffodil bulbs. The bulb will be black and unhealthy looking as it has been gutted by the grub. The grub larvae will eat the inside of the bulb as it grows. The grub winters over inside of the bulb and will emerge when the soil warms. It will stay in the soil in pupate stage. The narcissus fly will emerge, mature and lay eggs in the soil on the leaves or the base of the bulb.
Root feeding nematodes will infest daffodils. These roundworms appear eel-like and are microscopic. They live and feed on root systems causing a great deal of damage to bulbs. The weakened bulbs are then fed on by mites.
Animals such as squirrels, rats, mice, moles and skunks may dig up the bulbs in your flower bed. There is no proof that any animal will eat a daffodil bulb even though it is a standard assumption. There is a possibility that a skunk will dig into an infested bulb to get the grub. The bulb will be torn apart or carried away but not eaten by the animal.