Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Splendid Creature For Your Garden

The Hover Fly (family Syrphidae)We want this bug in our gardens! Their offspring consume the nasty little soft bodied creatures that want to suck the life out of our beautiful fruits, veggies and flowers. They are also, extremely important pollinators. With over 900 species in the US and over 15 genera around the globe, there's bound to be a few in your garden~Almost all have black and yellow bands on their abdomens which confuses them with bees and wasps....A survival technique that works well for them!

They might buzz us, but they are harmless. Many of the larvae of the species sup on the nasty little aphids in our gardens! The female lays her eggs near an aphid colony and when they hatch~they start dining. I recommend that you visit a site so you can id them and not think the ugly little slug shaped maggot is bad...I know that when I see something maggot like my first thought is "Yuck!" and my second is "Get the hose and wash it off!". So go here. Almost all have a telltale yellow longitudinal stripe on their backs, so you'll be able to id them as keepers!


When you see these lovely bee and wasp mimics hovering above the flowers you'll know they are good little bugs~ The ones in my garden are very small! I love watching them hover and dart about. Don't be alarmed if one buzzes noisily around your head~It could be the Yellow Jacket Hover Fly~ sometimes called the news bee or good news bee for its habit of hovering in front of a person and “giving them the news”.
The Hover or Flower Fly in my garden have been seen on Queen Anne's Lace, dill, Spiderworts, Hypericum, the weedy Asian Dayflower, roses, dayliles, stokesia, goldenrods, daisies, asters~You know, I've seen them hovering around almost all the flowers in the garden throughout the growing season!

"At this time none of the Hover Flies are on U.S. Endangered Species Act lists, although this may simply be because there is a lack of information on these generally understudied pollinators. In Britain, however, seven of the twenty-two flies for which Biodiversity Action Plans have been prepared are hover flies."** Even though none are listed here~we can create a garden that provides them flowers and appropriate egg laying sites and a safe place for larvae to live. So we have to put down the hose and not get freaked out when we see slug like maggots~~until we know if they be good or bad bugs. I probably don't have to remind you, pesticides are toxic to pollinators.


I'll be sharing information about pollinators over the next few weeks as a lead up to Pollinator Partnership Week, June 21-27, 2010. The last week of June is the official celebration and recognition of the importance of pollinators to our world...Please, stop by their site to get more information.

Gail

**sited

34 comments:

  1. That is great info and excellent photo captures of a valuable critter! An aphid eating pollinator - perfection.

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  2. Yippee a hoverfly lover. I have dozens and dozens in my garden, and I love them Gail.
    I love the fact they buzz around me as I work......it always brings a smile knowing they are working away in my garden.

    Your beautiful photographs show just how lovely these little insects are......

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  3. Gail girl we share the same Tradescantia ! now how funny is that out of ALL our garden plants ? .. BTW how is your TES ?
    Yes .. I watch this little guy in the garden and it is amazing .. I only wish I had more of them since aphids think this is vacation heaven here ? haha
    There are so many beneficial insects it is hard to keep track of them and heaven knows my limited brain power ? haha
    Great pictures : )
    Joy

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  4. What a great bug! I haven't seen them recently in my garden or maybe, just didn't pay attention. Now, when I know how good they are, I'm sure I'll notice them. Thanks for the information, Gail! Your pictures are pure delight!

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  5. Very neat! I think I've seen these little guys all over the garden. It does make me wonder how they could be on an endangered list.

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  6. I had never heard of a hoverfly until I saw them on Cheryl's posts. Then you posted some photos as well, Gail, and now I've seen them everywhere in my garden. Thank you for all this information--I knew they were also pollinators, but knew little else about them. Oftentimes, I don't even realize they're on a flower until I've downloaded a photo:)

    There is a Pollinatoreum (sp.??) on the U of I campus which has bee exhibits and does research. I've never been, but have missed two events there for MG's in the past few weeks because I didn't read my email in time! But I'm determined to visit it before the end of the summer--it sounds fascinating.

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  7. Great reminder. Even I need to be more mindful about the disgusting looking creatures in the garden and refrain from squashing them until I've done the research. I'm also really glad to know about Pollinator Partnership Week - maybe I'll save my post on our new hives(!) until then...

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  8. What a public service your blog provides, dear Gail, and this is just outstanding in helping us know the good guys from the bad, always difficult in our gardens. We have loads of these little cuties, often not noticed until loading flower photos on the computer. We are a no kill zone here, except mosquitoes trying to suck the blood from bare human body parts, that is a line not to be crossed. I love that white spiderwort!
    xxxooo
    Frances

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  9. I agree with you 100%!!! And I love seeing the little creatures buzzing happily around my plants, too--especially my thyme. They are LOVING the flowering on the thymes this year. :)

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  10. Good morning Gail. Wonderful post!!! These little guys will create the balance we all want in our gardens and allow us to live without pesticides. You are doing a great job of reminding people. Excellent photos too.
    Marnie

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  11. I love seeing these little pollinators in the garden. I am also happy I don't see their larval form. Ha.. I wonder where they lay their eggs. I will have to ckeck out the sites you recommended. Pretty daylily and spiderwort in these pictures too.

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  12. What a great blog post! It is good to know which insects are beneficial to the the garden and nice for those of us not using pesticides to know that these little beasties are on our side!

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  13. A great, informative post, Gail. We have a lot of hover flys here, and I love seeing them in the garden. They look a little menacing at first, but they never bother me while I'm gardening.

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  14. I love hover flies. My husband especially loves them, and they love him too.

    I didn't know that their larvae ate aphids. Well, that just makes them even better!

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  15. What a wonderful bug. I need to see if I have any in my garden. Thank you for the important information...I definitely do not want to kill anything that feeds on my aphids :-)

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  16. Yes a useful insect the hover fly and it loves daisy shaped flowers.
    I hadn't known that about the grub having a yellow stripe though but then I rarely squish grubs except the vine weavils I find when potting on, then I don't always squish them but leave in a plastic container for the birds they soon come and eat them all when I move away.

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  17. Thank you for the ID, Gail. The most common species of hoverfly that I see in my garden looks as if it is wearing really COOL shades. But until I read your post and was inspired to surf in search of more inspiration, I never realised there were so many varieties.

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  18. Great info!

    The hoverflies were swarming the hypericum yesterday. They, and the bumblebees, just get drunk on it, I think!

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  19. Hi Gail! I think I've seen that little fellow before - and now I'll welcome him to my chez Shady! ;-) Btw, I just posted a link to you!!!

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  20. Terrific info Gail. I will watch out for them. I think I've seen them in my garden but lately, all I seem to really notice is an over-abundance of yellow jackets. Should I be kind to them too???
    I'll be interested to follow your series.

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  21. An excellent and informative post!

    Thanks -- the Pollinator Partnership Week does need promoting in gardening circles!

    Lisa

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  22. Stunning picture of the flowers, will definitely make my day. Keep posting.

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  23. I look forward to more of your posts about pollinators, Gail. I'm passionate about their existence. :)

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  24. Good to know. :) I've never seen one but that doesn't mean they aren't hovering around...

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  25. Gail, this is some of the best information you've ever passed on. I don't know that I've ever seen the larvae, but I love the little hover flies. Love them! I was watching a show on bees, and it really alarms me. All bees are in trouble. Probably all pollinators really. We must care for them. Thanks.~~Dee

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  26. Thanks for a very informative post about the hover fly. Excellent photos too. I will look for it.

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  27. Hi Gail, The ones I've noticed in my garden are larger. The small ones might be there and I'm just not observant enough. Great post and photos.

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  28. Interesting, Gail. I've photographed this insect before but never knew what it was. Thank you for the info.

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  29. Very neat little guy. Wonderful photos too!

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  30. I think we all get strange biases about flies and I am happy to know these are good guys. Thanks for sharing!

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  31. Brava Gail! It is so important to understand our world and to know what is living in our garden. To identify a critter before you simply kill it. Great post and beautiful too. I see this bee-like fly a lot in the garden and not sure if it is the same one that will sit on my finger if I hold it out towards the fly... looks very similar. Thanks for the link too! ;>)

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  32. I haven't noticed any wasps around here - I think I'm just not looking! thanks for the reminder to be thankful for the pollinators. Great photos, of some very delicate-looking bodies

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  33. I've been photographing bee mimicks for some time, now.

    But have I organized my pictures or my thoughts? Noooooooooo...

    I'm glad you're the better friend of flies than I am. I have good intentions and poor follow-through.

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  34. Hi Gail,
    I wrote a comment for this important post but it is not here? Oh Dear... maybe I did not get the word veri. right and just closed up. Anyway ... I wrote something like this ... Brava! It is so important to know what we are killing in our gardens... it is important to educate ourselves and you are doing that with this post! Lovely photos!! Terrific really in the engagement going on between flower and hover fly. Know thy insects! ;>0

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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