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

weird orange legged fly
I have noticed these all over Alberta Canada. I have no idea what kind of two winged fly it is. any ideas?
Dave Sward

Hi Dave,
We haven’t had any luck identifying this creature. We hope Eric Eaton has the answer. Eric’s response: “The unidentified fly appears to be a syrphid, family Syrphidae. The classification I have not kept up with, but it reminds me of the genus Xylota. I’ll see if I can’t get more specific later on.” Later Eric added this: “It is either a species of Xylota, or Chalcosyrphus (which was split from Xylota some time ago).”

Update: May 22, 2011
Might this be
Chalcosyrphus curvaria based on this BugGuide imagery?

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Yellow Jacket Hover Fly
Here are some more pictures from Eagle River, Alaska. These are a hover fly that is an excellent yellow jacket mimic. Their front legs are black and they usually hold them out in front and wave them about like yellow jacket antennae. The other four legs are yellow like a yellow jacket. In these pictures, it is hard to see the front legs, as he is using them to eat. These are very hard to distinguish from the local yellow jackets. The only reason they are easy to spot this year is there are no yellow jackets near my house. We had a late, cold spring, followed by a hot dry summer, and all the yellow jackets and hornets seem to have died off. Last year, there were so many that my yard had a constant loud hum from the thousands of yellow jackets. Anyway, all the yellow jacket mimics really stand out this year (like the wasp moth I sent last month). Also, here is another hover fly. The color morphology was different from the others I have seen on your site, so I thought you would like to add them to your collection. Finally, here are two beetles on a wild prickly rose. I’m not really looking for an ID, I just thought it was a neat picture and figured you’d like it. (sorry about the black specks, the image sensor was dirty and I was using a very small aperture). I’m sure you are swamped with bug pictures right now, but would you be interested in a CD of some of the better ones from this summer? I could send you one this winter after things slow down a bit.
ps. If anyone is interested, the camera used was a Canon EOS 5D with a EF – 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro lens and MT-24 Macro Flash

Hi David,
Yes, we really are swamped right now, but there seems to never be a slow time. Winter in US means summer in Australia, and we get many requests from Down Under. WE feel guilty when we do not respond to your letters, but we have a better request than you sending us a CD. A CD would not have an explanatory letter and we like having information. Please limit your submissions to one insect, or type of insect, per letter. It makes it so difficult to get your letters with four or five wonderful images that need to be posted on numerous pages so we procrastinate, then forget. Off the tops of our heads, we cannot even recall the Wasp Moth you mention in this letter. Did we post it? If not, please resend with information. Meanwhile, we are happy to post your unidentified Alaskan Hover Flies. The Yellow Jacket mimic might be the genus Chrysotoxum.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Bee-like hummingbird moth from central Missouri.
Hello there!
My wife and I were reading quietly on a nice Saturday afternoon when we noticed a strange buzzing noise coming from the patio. When we went to look we saw this fellow darting through the air. Its wings moved so fast that we couldn’t see them when it was in flight. At first we were afraid it may be a stinger, but after watching its behavior we recognized it as a hummingbird moth. While taking photographs it started hovering around observing us! After a couple more minutes it darted off like a bullet. What a beauty!
Ryan Wolf from Columbia Missouri

Hello Ryan,
We were pleasantly surprised when we opened your attachment. We have no shortage of Hummingbird Moth photos, but your image is a new species for us. This is not a moth but a fly. To be more exact, it is a Yellowjacket Hover Fly, Milesia virginiensis. Thank you for adding to our archive.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

better picture of mysterious fly
Can you help identify this fly?
I have a fly in my home with bright yellow stripes across it’s back like a yellow jacket it also has a stinger attached to her rear end I took some pictures of it with the digital camera. Or at least I believe she is a fly, she has the head and wings of the other three house flies in the house just not the same body. Not the best but I can take more she’s just been sitting there looking at me all day in the exact same spot. I don’t know if this is of interest to you or not but three regular house flies that flew in with her, two as you can see from one of the pictures I have attached keep attacking her head. The other one I think was breeding with her. Can you help identify this one? For now since I am not sure what she is I’m just leaving her alone. Besides she’s been so patient with me trying to get a good picture of her shes just sat there and posed. Seems to be as fascinated with me as I am with her. If you need more pictures i can try and get more maybe use a chair if she is still here. When my husband got home last night he said he had seen one before but doesn’t know what it is. she’s back sitting in the exact same spot almost not moving again. I think that’s strange behavior for a fly. My husband also said they look like flies but he believes they are some sort of bee. I don’t think I told you where I live either it’s Riverside, CA. Also she is just a little over half the size to 3/4 the size of the house flies that will not leave her alone.
Thanks! Diana

Hi Diana,
Your photo is of a Hover Fly from the Family Syrphidae. They are called Hover Flies because of the way they can hover in the air above flowers. They are sometimes called Flower Flies because they eat nectar from flowers. Their coloration which mimics bees and wasps is thought to be protective. Your fly is harmless and will not sting you.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination