How To Know What’s Eating Your Daylily Buds

Daylilies are beautiful, vibrant plants that can brighten up any garden if they grow healthily. However, they won’t be able to grow into vigorous plants if something is eating them when they’re still buds. So, how can you know what’s eating your daylily buds?

To know what’s eating your daylily buds, you can place a camera near the plants to monitor the area and catch pests. You could also examine the area at different times during the day, ask neighbors if they have issues, fence the site to see if it helps, or look for signs of pests.

This article will discuss this topic in more detail. It’ll also reveal the main pests that could be causing the problem, so keep reading to learn more!

1. Place a Camera Near Your Daylily Buds

One of the best things you can do if you’re trying to find out what’s eating your daylily buds is to place a camera in the area (especially if you’ve looked closely and can’t see any insects).

By placing the camera lens directly at the plants, you’ll have a perfect view of everything that goes on throughout the day and night. Many cameras have motion detectors that begin recording once anything moves (such as a pest), but you can also get one that records continuously.

No matter the camera you choose, make sure it’s pointing at the susceptible plants and nowhere else. To ensure the camera can’t get damaged, use one that’s water-resistant and suitable for outdoor use.

If your camera records the incidents, you can watch over the footage and see which type of pest you’re dealing with. From there, you can come up with the best course of action.

2. Examine the Area at Different Times of the Day

While setting up a camera is one way to go, you can also examine the area at different times of the day to see if you can catch any pests. If you only check the plants once at the same time each day, you’re much less likely to see what’s causing the issue. 

For all you know, the pests come out at night or early in the morning, so you could miss them each time you check!

So, if you can, try to look around the area every few hours and note any changes you may notice. Not only are you more likely to catch pests in the act if you go out multiple times, but you’ll also be able to monitor changes to the daylily buds throughout the day. Ultimately, this can give you a good idea of when the pests come out.

Since some pests might only come out at night, check the plants before bed. You might get lucky and catch something when it’s late, which will help you determine the best solution.

3. Watch for Pests in Other Parts of the Garden

Although it’s vital to check the area surrounding your daylily buds, it might also be good to watch for pests in other parts of the garden. For example, check other plants and ensure they’re not being eaten. If they are, you’ll need to monitor the entire garden until you find out which pest is the culprit.

But it’s not just other plants you should worry about–look for things like:

  • Chewed fencing or wood. This could indicate a rodent issue, particularly mice and rats. It could also mean a beetle issue.
  • Holes in the ground. Holes in the ground or fencing can also indicate a rodent problem.
  • Bits of trash that look like they’ve been tampered with. Again, this is generally indicative of a rodent or deer infestation.

If you’ve got any food sources around the garden (including trash bags with anything edible in them), remove them. 

If you happen to see any kind of pest in another part of the garden, they may be the ones that are eating your daylily buds. 

According to the Clemson Cooperative Extension, the most common insects that are attracted to daylilies are:

  • Flower thrips
  • Two-spotted spider mites
  • Aphids
  • Slugs

So if you notice any of those insects around your garden, they could be causing all your issues. 

4. Ask Neighbors if They Have Similar Issues

If you’re not exactly sure what’s eating your daylily buds, consider speaking with neighbors if that’s an option. Of course, if you live in a remote area and don’t have nearby neighbors, you can skip this step.

But if you have neighbors and learn that they’ve also been having pest problems, they might know what the problem is. For example, your neighbor may have seen mice running around their yard, indicating that these mice are also (possibly) eating your daylily buds.

Alternatively, they might not have noticed any issues in their yard. In that case, the problem is likely localized to your place. 

5. Fence the Area To Help Determine Who the Culprit Is

Daylily buds out in the open and without fence protection are more susceptible to pest damage. So, consider adding a fence around the plants to see if it solves the problem. 

A fence will block large animals like deer, so they won’t have access to the plant anymore. However, barriers also block the sight of the plants from pests, meaning they won’t see them. Therefore, they’re less likely to go to the daylily buds and eat them. Instead, they’ll look elsewhere for plants and food that are easily accessible.

Here are some of the main benefits of using fencing around your daylily buds:

  • It protects the buds from insects because they won’t see them as easily.
  • It keeps larger pests away, such as deer and other stray animals.
  • It can protect the buds from rodents (unless they make a hole under the fence or chew through it).
  • It can protect your buds from strong winds. A tall fence around your daylily buds will ensure they don’t blow around in the wind much.

If you add a fence and notice the problem is solved, it won’t necessarily give you a solid answer on what was eating your daylilies. However, it indicates the culprit was most likely a rodent, deer, or insect that can no longer reach the plant due to being blocked.

6. Look for Signs of Pests on the Plants

Insects and other pests can leave traces behind if they’re eating your daylily buds, so be sure to examine the plants up close. 

When doing this, you might spot some small insects (like thrips), in which case, you’ll know they’re the problem. But if you don’t spot the insect, you may spot something else. Examples of things you may notice include:

  • Eggs: You might notice eggs on and around your plant if you have an insect problem. Eggs look different depending on the species, but most beetle eggs are white or yellow. Aphid eggs can be brown, black, or gray. Examining eggs can help determine what’s eating your daylily buds.
  • Larvae: Larvae are young insects that haven’t fully matured yet. They often appear slightly worm-like and can be hard to see unless you look closely. Be sure to check your plants for larvae, as they can be eating your daylily buds.
  • Slime trails: Look and feel around the daylily buds for slime. Again, this can be hard to detect unless you look closely. If you notice slime trails on your plants, the most likely culprits are snails or slugs. They need slime because it helps them stick to surfaces, so new slime means a snail or slug was recently on your plant.

What Could Be Eating Your Daylily Buds?

I’ve discussed different ways you can figure out what’s eating your daylily buds. But now, I want to discuss the specific pests that could be causing your issues in more detail. It’s good to know the different animals and insects to look out for, so check out the sections below to learn more.


You might not have realized it, but rodents aren’t just attracted to food. They’re also sometimes attracted to plants, including daylily buds. If you have no idea what could be eating your plants, you must consider the possibility of rodents.

If you use a camera (like I mentioned at the start of this article), it’s one of the best ways to catch rodents because they’re big enough to show up clearly on the screen. 

The main rodents to look out for are mice and rats. If rodents are eating your daylily buds, you’ll typically notice other issues, like holes in the ground.

They will also leave holes and bite marks in your daylilies and surrounding plants, and they will likely be more visible than bite marks that small insects would leave. On top of that, they may leave droppings around the area, so look out for small pieces of feces if you suspect rodents could be an issue.


If you determine that rodents are the problem, you’ll need to take action before more damage is caused. The best way to solve the issue is to keep the garden as tidy as possible. Rodents like clutter because it gives them places to hide. If everything is neat, they’ll have nowhere to hide and are more likely to go elsewhere.

You should also cover trash cans and ensure no water is available to rodents. Eventually, they should go away. Consider setting bait traps around your plants to catch them if they don’t go away.


Since most birds are omnivorous, your daylily buds may be in danger. Birds may be flying in and eating them, which can be challenging to manage. You’ll notice holes and bite marks if a bird is eating your plant. You may see the entire bud is gone in some cases!

It’s relatively easy to catch birds eating plants because they’re big enough to spot from far away. Plus, most birds are diurnal, so it’s easy to catch them out and about during the day. Therefore, if you have never noticed birds around your plants, the issue is likely caused by something else.

But if the issue is being caused by birds, there are different things you can do to get rid of them.


Birds are afraid of loud or unfamiliar noises, so try to create noise around your daylilies to keep them away. For example, you could hang something nearby that makes a jingle sound. You could also place a deterrent near the plants–like a fake predator–to keep birds away. 

If you have bird feeders nearby, move them far from the plants. Eventually, the problem should be resolved.


The most common species of the wild rabbit is the Eastern Cottontail, which generally lives at the edge of open areas across North America. Some of your neighbors will likely have seen rabbits around the site if they are the culprits.

The signs of rabbits are similar to those of rodents. Look out for nibbled plants and other things around the garden if you suspect wild rabbits are an issue. Droppings are another sign of rabbits. Rabbit droppings look like hard round balls and are difficult to miss because they’re certainly bigger than rodent droppings.


The best solution for getting rid of wild rabbits is placing a fence around the plants (as I mentioned earlier in the article).

The fence will not only block the daylily buds from the rabbit’s vision but also make it impossible for it to get across. You should notice the issue subsides once you protect your plants with some kind of fence.


Deer like to feed on plants, and your daylily buds could be victims if the wild deer have a way to get into your yard. Signs of deer eating daylily buds may include missing buds and chewed-up plants and leaves. If deer are eating them, they’re likely also eating other plants around the area.

Deer can come out at different times of the day but are most likely to come out in the evening and early morning. As I mentioned at the start of the article, if you set up a camera, it should be easy to catch deer due to their large size.


You must ensure deer have no way of getting into your yard if you want to keep your daylily buds and other plants safe. To do this, block any entry points they may have by putting up fencing or a wall. That way, the wild animals will be blocked out and have no way to get back in.

It’s also good to place additional fencing or netting around the plants, as this will prevent other pests from causing damage. Also, cover trash cans and bags, so the deer aren’t attracted to them. Once a deer cannot get into your yard, it will go elsewhere to eat plants and food.


Insects are the smallest culprits but can cause as much damage as larger pests. It’s not uncommon to see yellow leaves in daylilies suffering from insect infestation. There are different types of insects that can harm daylily buds, and some of the most common include:

  • Flower thrips: Several thrip species cause damage to daylily buds and many other plants. They’re small and difficult to see, so you’ll need to look extra closely to detect these annoying pests. They may also leave kidney-shaped eggs.
  • Aphids: Aphids are also small and feed on plants like daylilies by sucking the sap. If these pests are to blame, you’ll notice holes and pieces missing from your daylilies.
  • Japanese beetles: Despite their name, Japanese beetles can be found across North America and are damaging to many plants, including daylily buds. They are green and easy to spot if you look closely.

Spider mites could also be a problem, so look out for them, too.


Remove parts of the plants that are overly damaged to get rid of insects from your daylily buds. You can also rinse everything with water, washing away most insects. If there are a lot of insects, consider using an insecticide. 

For example, the University of Minnesota Extension recommends using non-chemical solutions or insecticides to combat Japanese beetle infestations. Additionally, use netting around your daylilies to block insects from gaining access.


If you don’t know what’s eating your daylily buds, there are different things you can do to figure it out. For example, you can use a camera to record the plants or examine the area up close to look for things like eggs or larvae. Small droppings can indicate rodents, and larger droppings can indicate wild rabbits.

Many things could be causing the issue, but consider the following pests if you’re unsure:

  • Rodents
  • Insects, including aphids and Japanese beetles
  • Deer
  • Rabbits
  • Spider mites

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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