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

Subject:  unknown insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Lynnwood
Date: 04/06/2018
Time: 01:12 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found several of these insects on the emerging leaves of a red currant.  Can you tell me what they are and whether they are innocuous or harmful?
How you want your letter signed:  Nancy Wyatt

March Fly

Dear Nancy,
We believe this is a Stiletto Fly in the family Therevidae, and according to BugGuide:  “Adults are nectar feeders; larvae prey on soil arthropods.”  Several species are pictured on Natural History of Orange County, but none looks exactly like your individual.  ResearchGate has some images of Australian Stiletto Flies that look similar to your individual.  We hope to get a second opinion on our identification.

Daniel,
Wow, that was fast!  I’m sure you’re right about the identification.
I do so much appreciate your interest and expertise.  And I gained more knowledge about my insect neighbors.
The fly larvae can eat all the soil arthropods they like from my garden!

Eric Eaton provides a correction:  March Fly
Daniel:
Sorry, I am “out of the office,” hence the delay in replying.  This is a dance fly, probably genus Empis.  Probably female, too.  Pretty common early spring flies in the Pacific coast states.
Eric
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America
http://bugeric.blogspot.com/

Ed. Note:  Once Eric Eaton provided us with a genus name, we did find this individual from Ireland posted to Alamy and this individual from California posted to BugGuide.

Daniel,
Well, that sounds a lot more peaceful than “stiletto fly”.  I either case I don’t have to worry about the larvae eating my currant plants.  It’s a real struggle saving them from the aphids in the spring. I’m so impressed that you and your colleagues would provide this service, which I have bookmarked and will recommend to all my friends in the gardening community here.
Nancy

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Possible ant with very short antenna
Geographic location of the bug:  North Texas (DFW)
Date: 03/25/2018
Time: 09:12 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
I found this bug on my patio. At first I thought it was an ant, but its antenna seem too short. It doesn’t really look like pictures of termites that I’ve seen. It seems too small to be a wasp.  I would really appreciate it if you could give me some guidance as to what it might be! Thank you!
How you want your letter signed:  Alyssa

March Fly

Dear Alyssa,
This is a March Fly in the family Bibionidae, not an Ant.  March Flies often appear suddenly in large swarms, they remain a few days and then they are gone.  Your individual appears to be a big eyed male.  There is a species of March Fly that appears in such large numbers of mating pairs in Florida that they are called Love Bugs.  Because of the red legs, we believe this might be Bibio femoratus which is described on BugGuide as “Shining black, dense yellow hair, red femora” and it is found in “Most of North America, except Canadian arctic and Western USA.”  BugGuide data includes reported sightings Oklahoma, but not Texas, but that just means there have been no reports to BugGuide from Texas.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  March fly?
Geographic location of the bug:  Tampa bay fl
Date: 02/19/2018
Time: 04:17 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We were on the beach and everyone assumed it was a love bug but it was solid black the size of  my Fingernail.   They were in a swarm landing on people some people were covered in about 20 of them .
How you want your letter signed:  Nicole

March Fly

Dear Nicole,
This is indeed a female March Fly.  The Love Bugs that are well known in parts of Florida and the South are also March Flies, but Love Bugs,
Plecia nearctica, which are pictured on BugGuide, are red and black.  So, all Love Bugs are March Flies, but there are many species of March Flies that are not Love Bugs.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Love bug?
Location: Brevard County Florida
April 26, 2017 12:45 pm
I live in Florida and we usually get a ton of love bugs around this time of the year but instead of your typical black bodied bug with a red head they’re all black? Is this a love bug? I have yet to see a red headed love bug anywhere.
Signature: Stephanie

March Fly

Dear Stephanie,
This is an excellent question.  The image you submitted is of a March Fly in the family Bibionidae and the small eyes indicate it is a female.  Lovebugs are members of the genus Plecia within the family Bibionidae.  So all Lovebugs are March Flies, but not all March Flies are Lovebugs.  As you stated, Lovebugs have red heads.  You may read more about March Flies on BugGuide where it states:  “Adults emerge synchronously in huge numbers and often form dense mating aggregations. Males form loose ‘swarms’ and copulate immediately with females as they emerge from the soil. After mating, female bibionines dig a small chamber in the soil with their fossorial fore tibiae, lay eggs, and die within the chamber (
Plecia lay eggs on the soil surface). Adults are short-lived (3-7 days).”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Black, red-headed beetle.
Location: Coastal Connecticut, USA
October 2, 2016 12:29 pm
Please help me identify these little chaps. Our flowering plants are full of them. They seem to be browsing on the flowers, rather than eating the leaves (at least, so far).
Signature: Doug

March Flies

March Flies

Dear Doug,
These are not Beetles.  They are March Flies in the family Bibionidae, and we believe they may be female
Bibio longipes, a species according to BugGuide that is a  “fall-flying species. Females are distinguished by their reddish color.”

March Fly

March Fly

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is this a type of fly?
Location: Lexington, MA
May 26, 2016 5:22 am
I live in Eastern Massachusetts and noticed these flying insects swarming all over our backyard. They don’t seem to bother humans but they really seem to like the grass seed on our overgrown grass. Can you please tell me what they are?
Signature: Gordon

March Flies

March Flies

Dear Gordon,
These are mating, sexually dimorphic March Flies in the family Bibionidae.  Males March Flies can be distinguished from females by their larger heads and bigger eyes.  We suspect because of your location they are most likely 
Bibio albipennis based on BugGuide information.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination