When I cut flowers (typically daylilies) from my garden and bring them inside, I often find I am treated to a barrage of flies over the next few days. I'm going to guess that there are maggot larvae within the flowers, which matures inside my home.

I'd also like to bring in my peonies, but they are covered in ants. If a different technique is applicable for them, I'd like to know.

I love the idea of bringing my garden inside, but not at the expense of harboring an indoor insect colony. Is there a way to kill the insects/larvae (with or preferably without chemicals?)

5 Answers 5


Inspect your flowers before bringing them inside; if you see insects on them, give them a gentle shake or dislodge the critters by hand with something like a small, soft paintbrush. Another option is to cut the flowers in the early morning and let them sit in a bucket of water outside in the shade for a few hours before bringing them inside; the insects will often leave on their own. I've been bringing cut flowers in for years and find this usually works just fine. I wouldn't go to the effort of killing insects that are there naturally.

  • I assume you mean to soak them upside down in a bucket so the flower heads are submerged in water? Commented Jun 29, 2012 at 19:16
  • I tried the soaking in a bucket technique this year with peonies and for the most part it seems to have worked. I don't know how many insects were there to start with but I only noticed one or two insects at the end. One issue I had was that the bucket wasn't deep enough to fully submerge all of the stem, and also that the flowers were a bit buoyant. Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 15:33
  1. chemically, you may use a spray containing malathion @ 1% with a sticker-spreader. it is a relatively safe pesticide.
  2. organically, neem (azadiracta ) emulsion @ 2% you may use with a sticker-spreader.

both are safe on flowers. spray during a mild weather when the plant is not under any stress.


Tip to remove tiny bugs in rose petals of blooms I cut from garden for arrangements: after initial cut of rose stems, a quick up-down motion of dipping rose heads in bucket of water, then a gentle shake, and rest, with stem submerged in water, and a second, fresh stem cut whilst under the water, and few seconds rest in water before moving them into vase. Nearly all insects are gone in the dipping step, BUT THE PETALS DO APPEAR A BIT DAMAGED, a tiny rim of BROWNING appears ON EDGES, ESPECIALLY AS DAYS PASS. SO, bugs, or longevity, seems the only choice. Any other ideas?


Try Diatomaceous earth. It's non toxic and doesn't hurt insects. You can also try spritzing your flowers with a solution of water and one tsp of dish soap.

  • Doesn't hurt insects? It kind of does. Or at least they die.
    – J. Musser
    Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 23:58
  • Diatomaceous earth kills insects, both Pest and beneficial. All insects. I think the original poster meant that it's not harmful to humans or flowers. But it will kill not just the bugs you want to get rid of on your flowers but also bees and others that are beneficial to our Gardens.
    – Shanna
    Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 12:48

Bring in buds not open flowers = no bugs. This works with peonies every time. Plus you get to watch them bloom. That's a win-win. You're welcome.

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