What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Three Lacewing larvae attacking Oleander aphids…
Location: Chicago
March 19, 2013 8:05 pm
I took this picture of three lacewing larvae attacking a colony of Oleander aphids right before I blasted them off my milkweed plant with the hose last August here in Chicago.
Signature: Justin

Syrphid Fly Larvae eat Oleander Aphids

Syrphid Fly Larvae eat Oleander Aphids

Hi Justin,
Thanks for sending us an awesome documentary photo, but you have misidentified the predators.  While Lacewing Larvae are known to feed ravenously on Aphids, these are actually Syrphid Fly Larvae.  Adults are often called Hover Flies or Flower Flies.  While we commend your use of a hose to remove the Aphids, a greener alternative than pesticides, we would like to offer our perspective.  By hosing off the Aphids, you also removed the predators.  We would have let nature take its course on this leaf, and we believe the Syrphid Larvae would have eaten all the Aphids in the vicinity.  The Flies would then have matured and produced a new generation of predators and if you have a properly balanced garden with predator species, the need to control Aphids in the future might become an unnecessary action.
  We would have hosed off Aphids from plants that had no predators nearby.

Syrphid Larva eats Oleander Aphid

Syrphid Larva eats Oleander Aphid


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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Chicago, Illinois
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2 Responses to Syrphid Fly Larvae eat Oleander Aphids on Milkweed

  1. Beth Coyne says:

    I am so glad that I found your blog page. I have a small native plant business near Cleveland, Ohio, USA. We propagate several species of milkweed plants. I am discovering that although our market customers want to help the Monarch population they are not fond of the aphids residing in their suburban lots. I suspected that since I am not having a problem in my nursery that I was attracting something that is an aphid predator. Now I know it is the Syrphid Fly Larvae. Is there a specific plant that I am growing that my be attracting these flies? If so, by any chance do you know which one? I can see it now buy one milkweed and get a predator attracting plant free.

    • bugman says:

      You can attract Syrphid Flies with blossoms, especially those in the composite family Asteraceae and umbel blossoms in the families Apiaceae and Alliaceae. We always let some of our carrots and onions go to blossom because of the beneficial insects they attract.

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