Hoverflies are a family of flies that are easily recognised by their bright colours and their ability to hover.

There are over 250 hoverfly species native to the UK, just under half of which have larvae that feed primarily on aphids.

The adult flies spend much of their life on flowers, feeding on pollen and nectar and as a consequence pollinate many types of plant.

Because of this, and the fact that their larvae prey on greenfly, this makes them a welcome insect in the garden.

Hoverfly Feeding

The adult flies are sometimes mistaken for wasps and bees until you get up close to them.

Drone-flies mimic honey bees,while others mimic wasps.

This mimicry is no accident, it is there to ward off predators.

Insects that sting usually taste unpleasant, so are avoided by predators.

If comparing Wasps and Bees to Hoverflies, the most obvious difference is, hover flies like all diptera, have only one pair of wings, whereas wasps and bees have two pairs.

The aphid eating larvae appear as legless maggots with flattened, relatively broad, often semi-transparent bodies up to 12mm long.

Most are greenish or brownish in colour and well camouflaged, and largely go unnoticed as they crawl over foliage in search of their aphid prey.

Close up of Hoverfly

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