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

Subject: SO curious…

Location: Santa Cruz, Ca.
November 10, 2014 12:46 am
I found this insect drinking nectar with the honey bees in my garden. While my husband cannot see a difference between it and the bees, I see several differences. (If even sounds different when it flies.) It was spotted in Santa Cruz, California in early November. Please enlighten me!
Signature: Amber

Drone Fly (left) with Honey Bee

Drone Fly (left) with Honey Bee

Dear Amber,
You are quite observant.  We especially like your image of the Drone Fly,
Eristalis tenax, with the Honey Bee it mimics in the background.  Drone Flies are in the family Syrphidae and they do not bite nor sting.  See BugGuide for an excellent comparison image.

Drone Fly

Drone Fly

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Hover Fly

Hover Fly

Subject: fake wasp
Location: switzerland
October 20, 2014 4:49 am
At first, I thought this was a wasp but it looks like a fly.
thx for your answer
Signature: A.zanos

Dear A.zanos,
You are correct that this is a fly.  Hover Flies or Flower Flies in the family Syrphidae often mimic stinging insects like bees and wasps, which affords the nonstinging flies some protection.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large bee in North bay northern Ontario.
Location: Calendor northern Ontario
September 28, 2014 4:31 am
We noticed lots of bees on this particular fall day. Cannot seem to find any similar to identify.
Signature: Carol S Amour

Syrphid Fly, we believe

Syrphid Fly, we believe

Dear Carol,
This is not a bee.  If you inspect the image closely, you will see only one pair of wings, indicating that this is a fly, albeit one that mimics bees.  We believe your fly is in the family Syrphidae, the Hover Flies and Flower Flies, and many members in the family mimic bees and wasps as a means of protection.
  Though we have not had any luck locating an exact match, we believe your individual most closely resembles the members of the subgenus Eoseristalis that are pictured on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: I have never encountered this at work before
Location: Seattle, WA
September 19, 2014 7:27 pm
I work in Seattle, WA on commercial boilers. The location I took these photos (which are actually screenshots from much more informative HQ videos that I took) is on the ground near an outdoor steam boiler in September at the end of summer. It was 75°F that day and was the last day of an unusually long and hot summer. The water (and sludge) these things were living in was very warm, I did not measure the temperature of the water but because it was continually being fed by 212°F boiler water. Please let me know if you need more information, pictures or video. Oh and these things were about half an inch long.
Signature: Aaron in Seattle

Rat-Tailed Maggot

Rat-Tailed Maggot

Dear Aaron,
One of your images appears to depict a Rat-Tailed Maggot, the larva of a Drone Fly,
Eristalis tenax.  According to BugGuide:  “The larva of the Drone-Fly feeds on decaying organic material in stagnant water in small ponds, ditches and drains. Such water usually contains little or no oxygen and the larva breathes through the long thin tube that extends from its rear end to the surface of the water and that gives it its common name of ‘rat-tailed maggot’.”

Rat-Tailed Maggot

Rat-Tailed Maggot

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Corn Tassel Fly
August 4, 2014 8:58 pm
I have a picture of said insect (That is what we in Indiana call them too…corn fly or corn tassel fly) and would like to contribute to your information.
Signature: Chawn Essary

What species of Syrphid???

What species of Syrphid???

please use the Ask What’s That Bug? link on our site and use Corn Tassel Fly as the subject line.

I have tried 3 times to submit that way and it just keep processing and never finishes? (the little arrow went around so much, I think I got dizzy! LOL)
So, here you go “Bug Man”!!
Thanks for your awesome site!
Best Regards,
Chawn

Hover Fly

Hover Fly is Toxomerus politus

Hi Chawn,
Though your images are enormous, our email program should have handled 12M worth of attachments.  Perhaps your internet connection was slow.  Do you generally have problem emailing such large attachments?  More that ten years ago, we received an identification request from Illinois with no images that described a Corn-Tossle Fly, and based on the description, we decided it was a Flower Fly, also called a Hover Fly, from the family Syrphidae.  The common name Flower Fly refers to their pollinating behavior and the name Hover Fly refers to their ability to fly in place.  Your images confirm that identification.  Interestingly, we cannot find any other references to that name, but we must confess we only did a quick and superficial search for the term.  Flies in the family Syrphidae are highly beneficial.  The adults help to pollinate plants and the larvae feed on garden pests including aphids.  Alas, we could not locate an exact match to your Corn Tassle Fly on BugGuide, however, we suspect that based on its physical appearance, your individual is in the subfamily Syrphinae, and perhaps you will have better luck navigating BugGuide to a species identification than we had.  It is also worth noting that many flies in the family Syrphidae mimic bees or wasps, and since the Hover Flies are perfectly harmless, this affords them some protection.  We have greatly enlarged the Hover Fly and cropped tightly in the hope that one of our readers will be able to identify the species, or at least the genus for us.

Hover Fly

Hover Fly hovering

Update:  August 17, 2014
Thanks to Kevin Moran who wrote in identifying the Corn Tassle Fly as 
Toxomerus politus which we located on BugGuide, though the common name is not indicated.  Kevin also provided a link to this pdf http://syrphidae.lifedesks.org/pages/25598/pdf  that provides this information:  “The larvae of Toxomerus politus (Say, 1823) also known as ‘the corn-feeding syrphid fly’, feed on pollen and sap from the saccharine cells of corn (Zea mays L.) (Marín A.1969; Smith 1974)”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is this a wasp or a bee?
Location: North Carolina
July 1, 2014 5:33 am
What kind of wasp or bee is this?
Signature: Devan Bodie

Flower Fly Carnage

Flower Fly Carnage

Dear Devan,
This is neither a wasp nor a bee.  It is a harmless and beneficial Flower Fly or Hover Fly in the family Syrphidae, a family that contains many species that mimic stinging insects as you can see on BugGuide.  It appears in your image that this Flower Fly was recently squashed, and since they are harmless and beneficial, we are tagging this posting as Unnecessary Carnage.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination