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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

Syrphid Flies

Posted by John Fulton -

What most people call sweat bees are actually syrphid flies. Many people are commenting about the yellow and black "sweat bees" flying around everywhere the last week. If you have several in an area, you can hear the drone as the wings vibrate. 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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