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John Fulton


John Fulton
Former County Extension Director



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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis
Syrphid Fly

Aphid Eaters

Posted by John Fulton -

With the numbers of aphids increasing in gardens, on trees, and in fields, that brings us to a couple of predators that we are familiar with. One is the Asian lady beetle, and the other is the syrphid fly. Both of these increase populations greatly when their food source, in this case aphids, increases.

We are all familiar with the Asian lady beetle. It is actually a beneficial insect since it eats aphids. It is also a nuisance pest when it gets all over the side of your house, or flies around your light over the kitchen table. The vacuum cleaner is the best control in the house, and think twice about treating them outside since they are helping you keep from having black, sticky lawn furniture.

Syrphid fly is a generic name given to an entire group of flies. There are some differences in appearance and color, but the yellow and black color is the major one in our area. The other names for syrphid flies are hover flies or flower flies. They tend to hover around your arms and face when you have been perspiring, and land to lap up the sweat. They are also commonly found on flowers, hence the flower fly name, and do a good job of pollinating.

Syrphid flies are actually beneficial insects. They help pollinate, larvae feed on dead organic matter, and the larvae are predators of aphids. They cannot sting, but their mouthparts can usually be felt when lapping up sweat from sensitive areas. You may feel a slight pinch.



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