Hover Fly Feeding

hoverfly feeding on a flower

Hover flies (Order Diptera, Family Syrphidae) are also known as flower flies because they are often seen hovering over flowers during the summer months. They have sponge-like mouthparts, similar to house flies, and feed entirely on nectar and pollen. They usually feed on open flowers such as daisies because their mouthparts are relatively short.

Hover flies are often attracted to honeydew, a substance secreted by sap sucking insects such as aphids, and lay their eggs on infested leaves. When hatched the hover fly larvae feed on the nearby aphids and other related species (e.g. scale, thrips). Each larva can consume up to 400 aphids during development, which gives the hover fly a reputation for being a 'helpful' garden insect.

Photo © 1998-2003 Troy Bartlett http://troyb.com/photo/index.htm.