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.