Currently viewing the category: "Syrphid Flies"
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

Subject: Bee fly or Bee
Location: Walker, Michigan
June 6, 2014 8:05 am
Hi Bugman,
Friend of mine found this on a tool this morning, thought it was a bee or wasp of some sort. It was near dead so I examined it and deduced that it was a fly masquerading as a stinging insect. I am willing to be wrong, but what do you know? Due to the lack of antennae and it only having two wings I figured I was right on, but let me know please. I also examined your specimens under bee flies on the site and did not find this particular one. A couple of nice pictures to add to your menagerie.
Signature: Drew

Hover Fly

Hover Fly

Dear Drew,
You are correct that this is a fly due to two wings, however, it is not lacking in antennae, but they are greatly more reduced in size than the antennae of the average bee or wasp.  This is actually a Hover Fly in the family Syrphidae, and in our opinion, it is
Temnostoma alternans, based on the images posted to BugGuide.  We also feel that your Hover Fly is a much better mimic of a Yellow-Jacket than the Yellow-Jacket Hover Fly.

Hover Fly

Hover Fly

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: a bee or a beetle!?
Location: County Down, Northern Ireland
May 15, 2014 5:30 am
Hey bugman! Me and my mum were just digging through some soil in our garden and found this weird looking insect! It’s body is all fuzzy and the colour of a bees but the head area is a yellow coloured shell? And it’s wings are very tiny and at the side of it! Also it’s eyes are like something you’d see in a cartoon of a house fly (really big and buggy). You can also clearly see wee pinchers for it’s mouth! I’ve never seen a bee or anything like this and it’s also weird that it was found in soil.
Signature: Many thanks, Rosalyn

Male Narcissus Bulb Fly

Male Narcissus Bulb Fly

Hi Rosalyn,
This is neither a bee nor a beetle, but you were on the right track when you noticed its eyes resembling those of a house fly.  This is a Fly in the order Diptera, and the fact that you found it underground indicates an underground pupation.  The wings have still not expanded after it emerged from the pupal stage.  The color and furry body are quite distinctive, and our first clue was images of a Narcissus Hoverfly,
Merodon equestris, on UK Safari, however, the images there show very different eyes.  The site indicates:  “look like small bumblebees” and “The ‘Narcissus’ name is given because they lay their eggs on Narcissus plants (daffodils).  When the eggs hatch, the larvae burrow down into the plants to feed on the fleshy bulbs.”  Everything seemed to fit but the shape of the eyes.  The eyes on your individual meet at the front of the head, so we continued searching.  On Bugs and Weeds, we learned that the Large Narcissus Fly:  ” only survives for a short while – between 5 and 24 days, and lays its eggs low down on the leaves of daffodil, narcissus and bluebell plants. On hatching the larvae make their way down into the bulb where they will feed for something like 300 days before re-emerging to pupate in the soil.”  We began to ponder the possibility that like Horse Flies, the Narcissus Hoverfly might exhibit sexual dimorphism, with the spacing between the eyes helping to distinguish the sexes.  That proved to be correct when we finally located an image of a male Narcissus Hoverfly on RI Bugs where it is called a Narcissus Bulb Fly.  Once we realized that the Narcissus Bulb Fly was also found in North America, we searched BugGuide and located another matching image of a male that matches your individual, except for the wings, which we have already indicated have not expanded to their full size in your image.  We are speculating that you have daffodils planted near the site of the sighting.  

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Masonry Bee?
Location: London, South East England.
April 11, 2014 1:15 pm
Hi! I would just like some clarification please! We noticed today that we had what appear to be bees flying in and out of a hole in the wall on our flat. We’ve lived here for years & it’s the first year we’ve noticed it. We’ve done googling and suspect them (it?) to be Masonry Bees but would love clarification as we’re both wimps when it comes to flying stinging things and would love to know where we stand for our own sakes but also that of the cats who seem to think the hole provides them with flying toys! And we obviously don’t want either to get hurt. It doesn’t look quite right for a masonry bee but doesn’t look like honey bees / bumble bees / hornets etc so we turn to your expertise! Thank you!
Signature: Tofu K

Drone Fly

Drone Fly

Dear Tofu K,
This is a harmless Drone Fly,
Eristalis tenax, and we were puzzled by your observations that is was “flying in and out of a hole in the wall,” and we learned something very interesting on Nature Spot where it states they can be observed:  “Virtually all year round. The female hibernates in buildings and crevices but will emerge on warm days in late winter, leading to it being seen in virtually every month of the year.”  Larval Drone Flies are known as Rat-Tailed Maggots.  More information is available on UK Safari.

Daniel,
Thank you for your prompt reply! I was expecting to wait a little while as the websites state you may have to.
Thank you for putting our minds at ease! I was concerned it was some beastly giant buzzing bee we were going to have to live with! And very “pleased” that they sometimes mimic bees – it means we’re not going completely crazy!
Glad you learnt something new about them too!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Weird toilet worm
Location: SOUTH AFRICA
April 6, 2014 6:37 am
Hi, i found this worm in the toilet this morning. it has a long black tail or flagellum or something. 2 eyes, its covering is transparent and you can see all its insides move around when it moves. It reminds me of the micro-organism paramecium.
its still alive, want to keep it that way until i find out what it is..AZ
Signature: LETITIA

Rat-Tailed Maggot

Rattailed Maggot

Dear Letitia,
This is a Rattailed Maggot, the larva of a Drone Fly.  It is harmless, and we suspect it traveled through the sewage pipes to get into your toilet, but we would not rule out it entering through the fresh water taps.  Back in 2006, we reported on Rattailed Maggots entering homes in Capetown through the potable water pipes.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination