Currently viewing the category: "Soldier Flies"
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Subject: Green and black horsefly looking bug
Location: Lake Charles, Louisiana
August 10, 2014 11:48 am
I live in Southwest Louisiana and was tending to one of my flower beds today on August 10, 2014 and ran across this bug grooming itself on a coneflower leaf. Could you please identify it for me? I was not sure if it is some sort of horsefly, wasp, or something totally different.
Signature: Lyndsey D.

Soldier Fly

Soldier Fly

Dear Lyndsey,
This is a Soldier Fly, possibly
Odontomyia cincta based on images posted to BugGuide.

Thank you so much for identifying this intriguing fly so quickly. I had trouble finding any images at all until you identified it.
Sincerely,
Lyndsey

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Subject: Daniel – Syrphid Fly?
Location: Hawthorne, CA
August 5, 2014 8:16 am
Hi,
We have a new to us plant that came up this year – a Brown-Eyed Susan. It’s attracting all kinds of neat bugs and I got these shots yesterday. I’m sure it’s a Syrphid Fly and I know they are hard to pin down exactly because there are so many of them, but would you please be able to confirm and maybe find which one it is?
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Soldier Fly

Soldier Fly

Dear Anna,
We just went through all the Syrphid Flies twice in a feeble attempt to identify a “Corn Tassle Fly” sent to us from Indiana, so we were pretty certain your guess that this is a member of the family Syrphidae was incorrect, even though it greatly resembles the members of that family.  Our initial impulse that this is a Soldier Fly in the family Stratiomyidae proved to be correct.  We quickly identified your pretty Soldier Fly as
Odontomyia cincta thanks to this image on BugGuide which is a perfect match to your lateral view.

Odontomyia cincta:  Lateral View

Odontomyia cincta: Lateral View

Sadly, BugGuide has no species information, but we did learn on the genus page on BugGuide that we might have the species wrong because Species identification often requires examination of genitalia.”  BugGuide also notes the habitat is:  “Woodlands, fields, usually near water; larvae are aquatic” and “Adults take nectar, also sometimes found on dung; larvae feed on algae.”  We are guessing that you must have a water feature in your garden, or nearby.  Composite flowers, like this Black Eyed Susan and the Cosmos you grow are excellent for attracting pollinating insects like bees, wasps, beneficial flies and butterflies.  Alas, we only have four cosmos plants, and all are less than 18 inches tall right now.  None has bloomed yet.  The dry winter was not good for our normally very prolific garden.

Soldier Fly

Soldier Fly

Dear Daniel,
Thanks so much for the response.  I think you are correct, but the markings on mine are different than the photo of the Soldier Fly you linked to.
We have only a bird bath and small buckets of water (that algae grows in) that we put the legs to our worm composter in and then float mineral water on top of to keep the ants out of the composter.  Our neighbor to the south does have a pool that he doesn’t maintain very well . . .  I’m sorry to hear that your cosmos plants didn’t do well.  We’ve had only scattered blooms ourselves.  I think we’re a bit closer to the equator than you (joke) so may have had more rain.  Would you like to try your hand at scattering some Brown-eyed Susan seeds next spring?
Thanks again,
Anna

Thanks Anna,
Rudbeckia has naturalized in our yard, and some years there are more and some years less.  this year it is less, but hopefully seeds will drop.
Perhaps your Soldier Fly is a different species in the genus.  Alas, we do not have the necessary credentials to inspect the genitalia.

 

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Subject: Soldier Fly–Hedriodiscus Varipes
Location: Wilderness State Park, Michigan
July 5, 2014 7:25 pm
Hello! Sorry I’ve missed a couple of days; I’ve been busy doing research. I’m sure y’all are busy as well! Today, I’ve brought you a soldier fly which I think I’ve got pinned down as Hedriodiscus varipes. The pattern on the head is pretty distinct for this species compared to other Hedriodiscuses–but what really confirms it for me is that Bugguide only has one picture of this species, taken back in 2007, in Wilderness State Park in Michigan… which is exactly where I found my specimen. (Bugguide does note that the species are hard to distinguish, but the genus is right, anyway.) It was very interested in these flowers, avidly dabbing at them with its tongue. This is a very large fly–the size of a horse fly, easily.
Signature: Helen

Soldier Fly:  Hedriodiscus varipes

Soldier Fly: Hedriodiscus varipes

Dear Helen,
This fly is positively gorgeous, both in color and in markings, and we are quite certain its impressive size added to its beauty.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae are aquatic” so they are most likely always found near a habitable water source.

Soldier Fly:  Hedriodiscus varipes

Soldier Fly: Hedriodiscus varipes

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Subject: Bugs in Garden
Location: Detroit, Michigan
June 27, 2014 8:10 am
Hello, I am from Detroit, Michigan and there are at least 100 of these bugs in my organic garden of all different sizes. The larger sized bug seems to have more color but move much faster, I have a pretty big yard but they are only in the garden. Just trying to figure out what they are, I looked through the internet but cannot seem to identify them. June 27, 2014.
Signature: Alicia

Probably Soldier Fly

Probably Soldier Fly

Hi Alicia,
Your image lacks the necessary detail to be certain, but this appears to be a Soldier Fly, possibly
Ptecticus trivittatus which is pictured on BugGuide.  According to the Soldier Fly family Stratiomyidae page on BugGuide:  “Larvae in a variety of situations, but mostly associated with decaying plant matter from leaf litter to rotting fruits” which causes us to surmise that they are being attracted to the organic compost in your garden.  They will not harm your produce.

Looks like that is it! Thank you,

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Subject: mystery bug
Location: arizona
March 2, 2014 8:32 pm
found these on a compost bin after a lot of rain in arizona
Signature: jas

Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Dear Jas,
These are Black Soldier Fly Larvae,
Hermetia illucens, and they are beneficial in the compost bin as they help break down organic matter.  The rains probably caused the larvae which were living comfortably in the bin to evacuate.  You can try the Black Soldier Fly blog for additional information.

Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Black Soldier Fly Larvae

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: strange fly looks like wasp in flight
Location: north east Alabama
July 27, 2013 12:02 am
recently had home invaded by this strange fly,has black and clear body with white socks on legs no stinger but looks much like a wasp when in flight.
Signature: dan

Window Fly "Invasion" ends in Carnage

Window Fly “Invasion” ends in Carnage

Dear Dan,
These are Black Soldier Flies, Hermetia illucens, also known as Window Flies because of the clear spaces in the abdomen which causes them to resemble stinging Thread Waist Wasps, which might be a defense mechanism for this benign and harmless species.  Do you have a nearby compost pile?  The larvae of Black Soldier Flies are beneficial in the compost pile.  You can read more about Black Soldier Flies on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination