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Hover Fly

Hover Flies belong to a large family of small to big flies. These flies are able to hover in mid-air, much like hummingbirds. These flies are expert fliers and can hover or fly backward, an ability possessed by few insects other than syrphid flies.

Hover Fly

Hover Fly

Adults often visit flowers for nectar or may be seen around aphid colonies where they feed on honeydew secreted by the aphids and lay their eggs. The adults are considered to be important agents in the cross pollination of some plants.

The egg is creamy white, microscopically sculptured, elongate oval, about .84 mm in length and .25 mm in diameter. The full-grown larva is 8 to 9 mm in length, 2 mm wide, and about 1.2 mm in height; elongate oval, somewhat flattened on dorsum, the anterior end drawn out to a point when the insect extends itself; integument finely papillose, transversely wrinkled.

The fleshy conical elevations are surmounted with pale spines, colored green, with two narrow whitish longitudinal stripes flanking the dorsal vessel. Posterior respiratory tubes fused mesad .5 mm long, the combined base about 27 mm wide. Larvae of hover fly are almost indistinguishable from those of A. exotica (Wiedemann), which occurs uncommonly in Florida. The puparium is green; the two whitish larval stripes apparent for a day or two. As the true pupa inside takes on the black and yellow color of the adult, the color of the puparium changes until all of the green disappears. The puparium length averages 5.25 mm, width 2.5 mm and height 2.3 mm. Posterior elevation is very gradual.

Hover Fly

Hover Fly Larvae

The adult is 6 to 7 mm long. This species may be recognized by the generic characters — yellow thoracic stripes and abdominal crossbands; on the fourth and fifth segments, four longitudinal, oblique, yellow stripes or spots; and yellow face lacking a complete median stripe. Eyes of the male are holoptic, those of the female dichoptic.

The larvae are important predators, feeding primarily on aphids that attack citrus, subtropical fruit trees, grains, corn, alfalfa, cotton, grapes, lettuce and other vegetables, ornamentals, and many wild host plants of the aphids. When larval populations are high they may affect 70 to 100% control of aphid populations.

People think these flies look like Texas-sized mosquitoes, and they have also wrongly been called “mosquito hawks.” Crane flies are large tan-colored fragile flies with long legs. Adults and larvae do not feed on mosquitoes. Larval forms of crane flies are grey-brown cylindrical larvae which may bear fleshy lobes on the end. Occasionally, the segments towards the end of the body can be greatly expanded.

Hover Fly

Hover Fly Pupa

Life Cycle : Adults of hover fly occur throughout the year in northern Florida and have been taken in long series in Gainesville in mid-February, but they become much more abundant during spring and summer. In southern Florida they often are abundant even during the winter months. The life cycle varies from as little as three weeks in summer to nine weeks in winter.

The eggs are laid singly on the surface of a leaf or twig which bears aphids. They hatch in two to three days during the summer and within eight days in the winter in southern California . found that the larval stage took five days, with one larva consuming 242 Toxoptera and another 270. found that larvae took nine days to develop. reported a larval stage of 10 to 14 days and that the larvae ate an average of 34 aphids per day.

length of the larval stage as 12 to 20 days and recorded one larva as having eaten 265 aphids, an average of 17 per day. The larva fastens itself to a leaf or twig when it is ready to pupate. The pupal stage takes eight to ten days in summer and 18 to 33 days in winter, reported a range of six to 11 days with an average of 8.3 days, six to eight days.

Hover Fly

Hover Fly

Hoverflies are attracted to all flowering plants but even more so to small-flowered herbs like wild mustard, coriander, dill, lupins, sunflower, and fennel. It is advisable to have multiple crops as adults basically feed on pollen and nectar and it is advisable to allow flowering weeds such as wild carrot and yarrow to grow between crop plants. Hoverflies’ larvae are most noticeable in the latter half of the growing season when aphids are established

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