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Flowers, Fruits, and Frass

Local and statewide information on a variety of current topics for home gardeners and market growers.
Fly larva eating aphid 8 12 11 071  3

Hover Fly

Posted by Kelly Allsup - Bugs

Syrphid larva/Hover fly/Marmalade Fly

(Toxomerus geminatus)

Pests: Aphids, thrips, scales, whitefly and smaller caterpillars

Appearance: Adult hover flies look similar to wasps or bees with black and yellow stripes but with only one pair of wings

Eggs are white

Larvae are green to brown with a narrow head, 1/3" long, slug-like appearance

Pupae are brown and wrinkly

Life Cycle: - 3-7 generations per season

-overwinters in leaf litter or soil as pupae

-adults emerge April through June

-Lay there eggs near high aphid populations to feed larvae when they emerge

-Larvae emerge May through August and feed

-Drop to the soil in pupal stage

Food Source: -Adults feed on nectar and pollen from flower and honey dew (aphid frass) and they will hover over flowers

-Larvae feed for 7-10 days and can eat up to 400 aphids by hooking them with their mouth and sucking out the insides leaving an exoskeleton behind

Predators: Birds

How to Attract:

-Create insectaries to offer the nectar and pollen; plants preferred by the hover fly are daisies, mint, cilantro, dill and wild carrots

-Insects need water

-Do not spray any pesticides

-Allow population to rise and fall

Kelly's Notes:

Inevitably, when you spray chemicals on your garden plants you not only kill the pests but the beneficials too. Some chemicals used can deter beneficial insects from populating your garden for an entire season. You don't have to personally release these beneficial insects into your garden. If there is food for the adults and small insects for larva they will visit. Don't be impatient because beneficials may not completely eradicate your pests and remember no aphids no hover flies.

Please send me your insect pictures to kallsup@illinois.edu and I will address on this blog

Special thanks to McLean County Master Gardener Margaret Hollowell for providing this amazing image



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