Contarinia quinquenotata larvae (Hemerocallis gall midge)

Contarinia quinquenotata
Common name: Hemerocallis gall midge
                            daylily gall midge
Host Plant:
Hemerocallis species and cultivars
Adult size: about 0.08 in (2 mm)
Larva size: to 0.12 in (3 mm)
Life cycle: adult – egg – larvae – pupae
One generation per year.  

Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera

Description: The Hemerocallis gall midge is a tiny fly about 0.08 inch (2 mm) in size and greyish-brown in colour with translucent pink wings. Very difficult to see with the naked eye. They emerge from the soil in late April or early May to begin mating. The female has a retractable ovipositor with which she can pierce newly forming daylily flower buds to deposit her eggs inside.

Once hatched, the small, legless, white maggots feed and develop inside the flower bud. This causes the bud to become misshapen and deformed, failing to open. If you have this pest in your garden, you will see these affected buds from early May through to early July…usually amongst the earlier flowering daylily varieties.

The maggots get to about 0.12 inch (3 mm) long and drop to the ground in July where they spin their silk cocoons in the soil and pupate over the winter. Adults emerge the following spring in late April or early May.

There is one generation per year.

Hemerocallis 'Orange Vols'Treatment and Control: Yellow sticky traps set up in and amongst the hemerocallis plants have proven somewhat effective against the adult gall midges in catching them before they have a chance to lay their eggs. Once the eggs have been laid, there is no effective treatment, organic or otherwise, to deal with the larvae as they are “cocooned” within the developing flower bud. Best line of defense at this stage is due diligence in keeping a close watch for any deformed buds and removing them for disposal into the garbage. By eradicating the affected buds, the gall midge numbers are at least kept in check…hopefully wiped out in due course. But this may be too much to hope for…especially if your neighbours are not picking off the affected hemerocallis buds in their gardens as well.

Special Notes: 
Luckily, this pest is species specific…it only affects Hemerocallis (daylily) species. And most of the gall midge damage seems to run its course by the end of July.

Posted on November 26, 2012

Additional information re Hemerocallis gall midge
by Leslie Cox; Saturday; August 6, 2022

Jump ahead a few years and observation of the gall midge pest has provided some more useful information. Of particular note is the fact that most of the gall midge damage appears to be on the early flowering hemerocallis plants. And yellow seems to be the predominant flower colour under attack, although other colours of daylily flowers can suffer bud damage too.

Thank goodness for the good plants people and scientists at the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Garden at Wisley. There is a large Hemerocallis collection at this garden which came under attack of Contarinia quinquenotata in the 1990s. Meticulous records were kept for a number of years on everything to do with daylilies and the gall midge. One of the results: they were able to assemble an admirable list of daylilies species and cultivars which are able to provide a worthwhile floral display in the garden after the gall midge attacks run their course in late July.

Symbols explained:
AGM indicates the cultivar has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit 
* indicates the plant was producing a good show of flowers in mid-July
**indicates the flowering period extends into early August
Colours (y=yellow; o=orange; p=pink; r=red; pu=purple; a=apricot; c=cream) refer to the main colour of the flower

Amersham *r
Apple Tart *r
Aten **y
Azur *o
Banbury Canary *y
Barbary Corsair *pu
Bibury *o
Blushing Belle *o
Bowl of Roses *o
Burford *y
Burning Delight *o AGM
Butterscotch Charm **y
Cartwheels *y AGM
Chartreuse Magic *y AGM
Chief Sarcoxie *r AGM
Chicago Sugar Plum *pu
Christmas Is *r/y
Cinnamon Glow *o
Colour Me Mellow *y
Corky *y AGM
Cynthia Mary **r
Daring Reflection **pu
Ed Murray **pu
Fairy Tale *a
Fiery Messenger *r
Frans Hals **y
George Cunningham *y
Gold Crest *y
Golden Gate *y
Golden Peace **o
Golden Scroll *o
Green Flutter **y AGM
Heaven’s Trophy **o
Helios *r
Hemerocallis fulva **o
H. fulva ‘Flore Pleno’ **o
H. lilioasphodelus **o AGM
H. multiflora **o
His Pastures Green *y
Jake Russell *y
Jane Graham *o
Janet *y
Joan Senior **c
Lady Fermor Hesketh *y
La Peche *a
Lemon Bells *y AGM
Little Grapette *pu
Little Wine Cup **pu
Loving Memories *c
Luminous Jewell *c
Magic Dawn *p
Marion **y
Marion Vaughn **y AGM
Michele Coe **o
Mighty Mogul **pu
Missenden *r AGM
Moroccan Summer **y
Neyron Rose *p AGM
Nob Hill **y
Nova **y AGM
Optic Elegance **y
Oriental Ruby **r
Pardon Me **pu
Peaks of Otter **pu
Pink Damask **p AGM
Pink Prelude **p
Prairie Charmer *a/pu
Red Precious **r AGM
Ruffled Apricot *a
Rumble Seat Romance *y/pu
Scarlet Flame **r
Stafford **r
Stella de Oro **y AGM
Stoke Poges *p AGM
Tetrina’s Daughter **o AGM
Torpoint *o
Veiled Organdy *y
Viva Shanti **pu/r
Washington Duke Memorial *o
Welcome Mat *o
Whichford *y AGM
White Coral *a
Windsong *y