Currently viewing the category: "March Flies and Lovebugs"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: New to gardening
Location: Royal Palm Beach, Fl
March 15, 2014 8:42 am
Starting a new garden about two weeks ago. Just planted some seeds and starter plants. Noticed last night that these little bugs were everywhere. I think they might be fungus gnats. Some were mating. Climbing mostly on the wood of my raised garden bed. What are they and how do I get ride of them if they are bad bugs?
Signature: Cheri

March Fly

March Fly

Hi Cheri,
We are nearly certain that both of the images you submitted are of March Flies in the family Bibionidae, and we are certain they are of different sexes, and they might be of different species.  First we will discuss the male March Fly.  His big head and larger eyes are typical of the sexual dimorphism or visual difference between the sexes that is typical of this family.  He looks like he might be Bibio albipennis, based on images posted to BugGuide, and BugGuide indicates it is:  “The most common and widespread species of
Bibio.”  The female with her smaller head appears to be a different species because of the black wings.  She might be Dilophus orbatus, which is pictured on BugGuide.  The family page on BugGuide indicates:  “larvae live gregariously in the top layers of soil and leaf litter, rotten wood, and dung; adults often found on flowers” and “larvae feed on leaf and needle litter, decaying organic matter, also on subterranean structures of live plants.”  If you started your garden with rich compost, that might explain the large numbers of March Flies that are appearing in your garden.  BugGuide also notes:  “Adults emerge synchronously in huge numbers and often form dense mating aggregations. Males form loose “swarms” and copulate immediately with females as they emerge from the soil. After mating, female bibionines dig a small chamber in the soil with their fossorial fore tibiae, lay eggs, and die within the chamber (Plecia lay eggs on the soil surface). Adults are short-lived (3-7 days).”

Female March Fly

Female March Fly

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Orange Belly Fly/mosquito
Location: Mississippi, United States
September 7, 2013 10:26 am
Can you please tell me what these are? They are the most annoying insects more annoying than flies or mosquitos!
Signature: ThomasOwens

Probably Lovebug

Probably Lovebug

Dear Thomas,
We wish you had a dorsal view of this insect, which we believe is a March Fly in the genus
Plecia, commonly called a Lovebug because mated pairs remain joined for an extended period of time.  They can get very common in the south when they form huge swarms.  According to BugGuide, they are also known as Honeymoon Flies.

Probably March Fly

Probably March Fly

Hi Thomas,
Thanks for sending a dorsal view.  We no longer believe this is a Lovebug, but we still believe it is some species of March Fly.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bugs around almond trees
Location: 30KM South of Shiraz
April 16, 2013 9:50 am
Hello there,
I have a lot of these black insects around my almond trees in a garden near Shiraz, Iran.
I will be glad if you assist me identify these insects and if they are pest or not.
they look like peach tree borers but they are not.
They appear in early April every year and are present until mid May or end of May.
I can say almost 200 or 300 insects are flying or landing on each tree.
I can provide better images if needed, I will shoot using a professional camera next Friday and send the high quality images for you…
Kind Regards.
H. Razavieh
Signature: Hossein Razavieh

Male March Fly

Male March Fly

Dear Hossein,
These are March Flies in the family Bibionidae, and possibly in the genus
Bibio, and though we have not had any luck identifiying any Iranian species, you can see similar North American species on BugGuide as well as in our archive.  March Flies exhibit extreme sexual dimorphism, and the males have the larger heads with bigger eyes.  We are happy that you submitted a photo of each sex.  We would love to get better photos later in the month.  Please title the subject line March Flies from Iran.  We do not believe they are harming your almond trees.  According to BugGuide:  “larvae live gregariously in the top layers of soil and leaf litter, rotten wood, and dung; adults often found on flowers.”  BugGuide also notes:  “Adults emerge synchronously in huge numbers and often form dense mating aggregations. Males form loose “swarms” and copulate immediately with females as they emerge from the soil. After mating, female bibionines dig a small chamber in the soil with their fossorial fore tibiae, lay eggs, and die within the chamber (Plecia lay eggs on the soil surface). Adults are short-lived (3-7 days).”  BugGuide also states:  “larvae may damage cereal crops, vegetable crops, ornamental plants, nursery stock, grass, and forage crops; adult Bibio and Dilophus may be important pollinators in orchards and are the exclusive pollinators of some species of Orchidaceae and Iridaceae.”  Since they are short lived, they might not be around next week, but we would love to request a photo of a mating pair if possible.  One North American species found in Florida is known as the Love Bug because they are frequently found in flagrante delicto in large numbers.

Female March Fly

Female March Fly

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Insect we saw hiking in England
Location: England, Yorkshire Dales and Yorkshire Moors
August 8, 2011 12:01 am
We saw these hiking in the moors where there seem to be moisture (standing water or mud) and some present of ferns, but not always. Late July, early August. These insects would fly about us and often in front of us as we walked. They did not appear to want to land on us but were ”curious” or looking for a mate? We saw pairs of these insects often buzzing around each other mid flight for short periods of time. We saw a few on the ground where they seemed to stay motionless for some time. A type of wasp? Thank.
Signature: Travelmarx

St. Mark's Fly

Hi Travelmarx,
This is a male St. Mark’s Fly or Heather Fly in the Bionidae.  Males have much larger heads and larger eyes than females.  You can see all the research we have done on this insect by viewing this old posting from our archives.  Related Flies in the southern U.S. are called Love Bugs because they are often found in the mating position.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Lovebug
Location: Mid-Missouri
October 26, 2010 12:50 pm
A friend of mine suggested that I submit some of my photos to your site (love the site by the way). I found these a few days ago all over the Amur Honeysuckle berries that line my woods. I believe it to be a Lovebug and they are sure interesting looking creatures. These were the first that I have seen this year
Signature: Nathanael Siders

March Fly

Hi Nathaneal,
This is definitely a March Fly in the family Bibionidae which includes the Love Bugs in the genus
Plecia, but we haven’t the necessary skills to identify the genus or species.  That would require an expert and most likely a physical specimen.  We can say that she is a female because the eyes of the male are much larger.   Presumably, if he could speak, he would inform his mate that they are:  “All the better to see you with, my dear.”  You may see some additional examples of March Flies on BugGuide.

March Fly

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Black winged, orange bodied flying insect
Location: Downtown Sydney, Australia
October 22, 2010 3:33 am
I can’t find a photo that quite corresponds to this bug. It, and others similar, were apparently supping nectar from the same bush as lots of bees, hover flies and the like.
Seems to have a disproportionally small head. Attached photo shows 6 live views and three post mortem.
Signature: Mike Gordon

March Fly

Hi again Mike,
Upon seeing your new photos, we now believe the letter you sent last week contained a misidentification.  This is not a Sawfly, but rather, we believe, a March Fly in the family Bibionidae.  Unfortunately, the Brisbane Insect Website only contains images of a species that is not your insect.  Female March Flies often have significantly smaller heads and eyes than males.  Some confusion may arise as the name March Fly refers to Horse Flies in Australia.

Unknown March Fly from Australia

The new photos you have sent to us should enable a conclusive identification from an expert, but we are not having much luck finding any matches in our internet searching.  Perhaps one of our readers will provide an identification.

Unknown March Fly from Australia

Thanks, again, Daniel,
Following the lead that you have given me I think that I may have found it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bibio_hortulanus01.jpg
What do you think?
Mike.

Daniel,
Another link: http://www.diptera.info/photogallery.php?photo_id=910
Further defines the bug as female, as your email had suggested.
Mike.

Hello again Mike,
Biblio hortulanus appears to be a European species as indicated on this UK Insect website and it may have been introduced to Australia, or your insect may be a similar looking but distinct Australian species.

Don’t think I’ll worry about that!
Mike.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination