Gall Fly Produces Goldenrod Galls
The Canadian goldenrod and a few additional goldenrod varieties are host plants to gall fly larva. The Gall fly produces goldenrod galls which become the food source of gall fly larva over the course of the winter. The insect has a fairly interesting lifecycle.
Gall Fly produces goldenrod galls which are the large bulbs you see on stalks in the autumn and winter months on a variety of goldenrod plants. Did you know that a fly produces those swollen bulb looking formations?
Those Large Plants on Goldenrod Stalks Are Insect Homes
Gall Fly also is known as the goldenrod ball gallmaker, is a species of fly native to North America. The species is best known for the characteristic galls it forms on several species of goldenrod plants.
Gall Flies Sole Job is Mating
Gall flies are only alive for two weeks and the entire time they are alive, they mate. They fly around and their sole job is to mate.
A New Life Begins
The female will deposit the eggs on goldenrod in mid-spring, after 7 days the egg hatches and the larva goes to work eating and eating. At some point, the larva will migrate to an area below the plant’s developing buds and introduce a chemical that will cause it to develop a hard bulb plant growth. The larvae bore into the plant tissue and create a large chamber. This growth will become a larva’s home from this spring to the following spring.
Interesting Little Fact
The gall fly larvae know that the galls will serve as both their homes for protection from the elements and also their winter food source. In late September or early October, the larvae will create a small tunnel to the outside of the bulb. This serves as the escape the following spring. In the larvae stage, they have chewing mouths, after they molt into a fly in the spring they do not.
Insect Preditors to the Gall Fly Larva
2 types of parasitic wasp (Eurytoma obtusiventris & E. gigantea)
Beetle larva (Mordellistena unicolor)
During the growth stage and before winter sets in, two types of parasitic wasps and also a beetle larva will try and prey on gall fly larva.
Bird Preditors of the Gall Fly Larva
In late fall and throughout the winter months, the downy woodpeckers and chickadees begin searching galls for exit tunnels for easy meals. If a bird finds a tunnel they begin to extract the larva.