Currently viewing the category: "Syrphid Flies"

Subject:  What is this fly?
Geographic location of the bug:  Los Angeles County, CA
Date: 06/16/2021
Time: 09:04 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this small fly on my kitchen window. Do you know what it is?
How you want your letter signed:  SoCalFly

Hover Fly

This is a Hover Fly or Flower Fly in the family Syrphidae, but we are uncertain of the species.  Many members of this family mimic stinging bees and wasps for protection, despite being harmless themselves.  The Natural History of Orange County has many similar looking individuals.

Subject:  Mexican Cactus Fly?
Geographic location of the bug:  Tucson, Arizona
Date: 12/30/2019
Time: 03:29 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I photographed these flies as they visited flowers at the Tucson Botanical Gardens in Tucson, Arizona.  I think that they may be Mexican Cactus Flies; and I was hoping that you could confirm that.  Of course, you may use the photos if so desired.
How you want your letter signed:  Stephen Nelson

Mexican Cactus Fly

Dear Stephen,
This is indeed a Mexican Cactus Fly,
Copestylum mexicanum.  Though the Mexican Cactus Fly is a member of the Hover Fly family Syrphidae, it does not resemble most other members of the family that look like bees and wasps as protective mimicry.

Subject:  What is this insect?
Geographic location of the bug:  Christchurch New Zealand
Date: 10/11/2019
Time: 08:58 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’m unsure what this is, at first I thought it was a blowfly so I swatted it and then I noticed the yellow colouring on its back and was worried it may be a bee of some sort
How you want your letter signed:  Isaac Thomas

Three Lined Hover Fly

Dear Isaac,
This is a harmless Three Lined Hoverfly,
Helophilus seelandicus.  According to Landcare Research:  “Attracts attention because of its noisy flight.  Important pollinator of flowers.  Larvae are rat tailed maggots which live in liquid containing rotting plants or animals.”

Subject:  1.5 to 2 inch bug hovering over garden
Geographic location of the bug:  Allentown, Pennsylvania
Date: 08/29/2019
Time: 02:02 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We’ve got a serious Spotted Lantern fly invasion over here. As I swatted a few out in the back porch I happened to see something hovering and then landing on a flower plant in my garden. I was shocked to see what looked like a giant wasp or hornet. It was about 1.5 to 2 inches in length. I searched for the slim waist to identify if it was a wasp but it was think all over with large dark eyes. I ran in my house to get the phone to snap a picture. After a few unclear shots I crouched a bit to get a better shot and it saw me and flew like a flash to scope out where I was. I jetted outta there lol and fearfully stood behind my screen door watching it until it flew away. I searched online but could not find any-bug similar. Can you help me identify it.
How you want your letter signed:  Best Regards Prisilla

Yellowjacket Hover Fly

Dear Prisilla,
Your account of your encounter with this Yellowjacket Hover Fly is riveting.  Though it mimics a stinging insect for protection, the Yellowjacket Hover Fly is perfectly harmless.  Here is a BugGuide image for comparison.  Your individual is also a male, so it might have been staking out territory where it might find a suitable mate.  According to BugGuide:  “Flies aggressively and buzzes like a hornet. In the south, sometimes called the ‘[good] news bee’ for its habit of hovering in front of a person ‘giving the news’. It is also said to be good luck if one can get the insect to perch on a finger, no doubt because this is difficult to do.”

Subject:  Huge yellow jacket?
Geographic location of the bug:  Central Virginia
Date: 07/09/2019
Time: 09:34 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this monster in my garden today, 7/9/19. It was roughly an inch size.  Is this thing a massive yellow jacket or a hornet?  How concerned should I be that there are more of them nearby? I do have young kids.
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks! Kelsey

Good News Bee

Hi Kelsey,
You have nothing to fear.  Your children are safe, at least from this Yellowjacket Hover Fly which is also known as a Good News Bee.  Many harmless Hover Flies in the family Syrphidae mimic stinging insects as protective mimicry.

Subject:  bee?
Geographic location of the bug:  southwestern ontario
Date: 06/09/2019
Time: 09:24 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’ve been trying to search what kind of bee this is?! it’s slightly larger than the european honeybee. i can’t find anything online. can you help me please?
How you want your letter signed:  heidi

Hover Fly

Dear Heidi,
This is NOT a Bee.  It is a Hover Fly or Flower Fly in the family Syrphidae, and many members of the family mimic stinging Bees and Wasps to fool predators.  There are some similar looking species in the genus
Eristalis, and we believe, based on BugGuide images, that this is Eristalis obscura.