Subject:  What is this fly?
Geographic location of the bug:  Central NJ (Linden area)
Date: 06/14/2019
Your letter to the bugman:  What in the world is this bug? They’ve been eating all the leaves of my zinnias!
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks – Ruthie

Long Legged Fly

Dear Ruthie,
You are mistaken about this Long Legged Fly from the family Dolichopodidae eating the leaves on your Zinnias.  If leaves are being chewed, we would suspect a host of creatures, including Caterpillars, Orthopterans like Grasshoppers or Katydids, Beetles or Slugs.  Flies do not have mouths that are capable of chewing.  Long Legged Flies are beneficial predators.  According to BugGuide:  “Mouthparts are for piercing (with a short proboscis). Adults and larvae prey on small insects.”

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much. I’m fairly sure it isn’t slugs but otherwise I’m stumped. Is there a gentle or natural way I can keep bugs away? I don’t want to kill them, just keep them from killing my plants.

Sorry Ruthie,
We have no recommendations for a panacea for deterring insects.

Location: Linden, New Jersey

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