Ed Royce

Garden Q&A: Hover flies

Garden Q&A: Hover flies

A tiny flying insect appears late afternoon/early evening in our neighborhood and lands on people. Could you help us identify it?

Shoo away gently. This is your friend times two. The syrphid fly, commonly known as a flower fly or hover fly, feeds on nectar and pollen, making it a good pollinator. Its bee-like color and markings protect it from predators, though it has only one set of wings (bees have two sets) and doesn’t sting. The female syrphid fly lays its eggs on a plant infested with aphids, mites or other insects. When larvae hatch, they gobble up the pests so, contrary to stereotypes, these flies are beneficial and should not be sprayed. They may...