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

Subject: catapillar species?
Location: Fullerton, California
August 15, 2017 6:37 am
Have found several of these on a California native milkweed, Asclepias fascicularis. They are quite sedentary and don’t seem to be eating the leaves or flowers. They are hard to photograph clearly, as the ‘skin’ is oddly transparent.
Signature: wev

Syrphid Fly Larva on Milkweed

Dear wev,
We do not recognize your caterpillar, and unfortunately, searching online for caterpillars on milkweed leads to Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars, which this is clearly not.  We will attempt to research this further, but meanwhile, we will post it as unidentified.  Perhaps one of our readers will recognize it.

Ed. Note:  August 16, 2017
Thanks to a comment from Cesar Crash, we agree this is most likely the larva of a Syrphid Fly (see BugGuide ) which would mean it was probably feeding on Aphids.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Insect
Location: Nn84ue
August 14, 2017 9:02 am
What is this please
Signature: Marion

Hornet Hover Fly

Dear Marion,
We are guessing that Nn84ue is in Wellingborough, UK.  Based on this British Hoverflies image, we believe your Hover Fly is
Volucella zonaria, commonly called  Hornet Hoverfly.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Green Slimy Bug in Salad
Location: Portland, OR
August 12, 2017 9:59 am
Found this in my salad after eating at a restaurant. It moved like a leach out of water. Able to elongate its body unlike any maggot I have seen before. No ribbed texture like a maggot. Greenish hue slimy, semi transparent able to see some innards. No obvious mouth parts.
This was in Portland, OR on August 7th. Salad was local organic greens. Wandering what it is for health reasons.
Signature: Harlan Whitman

Possibly Flower Fly Larva

Dear Harlan,
What we sacrifice in not getting pesticides in our food is the occasional appearance of an insect in organic produce.  This looks to us like the larva of a Flower Fly in the family Syrphidae, like the one in this BugGuide image.  Syrphid Fly larvae are beneficial predators that eat large quantities of Aphids, and it makes sense that they might be found in organic greens.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is this a bee?
Location: Ohio about 45 miles west from Pittsburgh PA
August 2, 2017 7:46 am
Hi we keep getting these and I think it’s a type of bee but not sure.
It hovers and buzzes really strangely and will even go silent then get really loud!
It can go from hovering to high speeds fast!
Thanks for your help,
Signature: Laura Evans

Good News Bee buzzes no more

Dear Laura,
This is a harmless Yellowjacket Hover Fly or Good News Bee.  We hope future encounters you have will not end with such Unnecessary Carnage.  As an aside, our editorial staff hails from Youngstown, Ohio, just west of Pittsburgh.

Thank you! We thought it was going to sting our dog… now I feel bad. So glad to know because we have had one around us everyday for the last 2 weeks and we will welcome them now! ❤

Thanks so much!
Our mission has always been to educate the web browsing public to have tolerance toward the lower beasts.  Perhaps you should buy a lottery ticket after your next encounter to see if the good luck part holds up.
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Predation
Location: Sussex County, NJ
July 31, 2017 8:44 am
I witnessed a square-headed wasp (Family Cabronidae, I believe) take down a large syrphid fly this morning and thought I’d share the photos. Also, wondering if you might be able to narrow down my ID on the wasp for me?
The attack was remarkably fast with the wasp landing on the fly and quickly subduing it. Eventually the wasp dropped the fly as it seemed that it was too large for the wasp to carry more than a very short distance. Interestingly, an hour later, the body of the syrphidae was gone – so did it recover or did something else come along and dispose of it? Fascinating.
Signature: Deborah Bifulco

Square-Headed Wasp and Drone Fly Prey

Dear Deborah,
Thanks for sending in your amazing images that are greatly enhanced by your written observations.  Speculate is the best we can do for the subsequent exploits of the Drone Fly, but we can be certain that it was alive after the encounter.  We would like to speculate that after that spectacular attack, the Square-Headed Wasp partially glided, and partially dragged her prey to her nest to serve as fresh meat for her developing brood.  Of the Square Headed Wasps in the subfamily Crabroninae, BugGuide states:  “Some nest in hollow stems or in abandoned galleries in wood, others burrow in the ground. Prey is mostly flies, but some utilize other insects.”  Exactly a year and two days ago, you submitted a very similar Food Chain image. that appears to be of the same species, both predator and prey, and at that time, we identified the genus as possibly
Ectemnius.  We will look into this more thoroughly.

Square-Headed Wasp and Drone Fly Prey

Hi Daniel,
Thanks so much for your very informative response!  And forgive my senior moment in forgetting the photo I sent to you last year.
I actually wondered if the wasp had just paralyzed the Drone Fly, or if it was dead.  But it certainly makes sense that it would be alive, especially as it would be a food source for the wasp-kids.  I have a small colony of Great Golden Diggers and frequently see them carrying very large katydids into their nests.
I have found with insects that the more I learn, the more I want to know.  J

You are most welcome Deborah.  We can always depend upon you to send in great images.

Square-Headed Wasp and Drone Fly Prey

Square-Headed Wasp and Drone Fly Prey

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this bee?
Location: Sub alpine region of Colorado
July 23, 2017 6:56 am
Hey bugman!
I snapped this photo of a tiny bee about to land on a flower for nectar. I am in Boulder County, CO and this shot was taken at or above 10,000ft. It was mostly black and when it wasn’t zipping around, it would hover.
I’m stumped!
Signature: He with the Bee

Hover Fly

This is not a Bee.  This is a Hover Fly or Flower Fly in the family Syrphidae.  Many harmless members of the family Syrphidae are effective mimics of stinging bees and wasps.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination