Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Deceptive Flies

The syrphid fly, also called a hover fly, (Syrphidae spp.) is often mistaken for a bee or wasp. With the various horizontal yellow and black striping they look like a pest. The subsequent larvae eat lots of aphids. Often a single larvae can eat many more its body weight in aphids. The adults should be treasured as the fly from flower to flower to gather the nectar and pollen to survive. Here we see one on a poppy. Because the larvae look like tiny slugs they are also mistaken for a pest and squished or sprayed. Poor little guys get it on all fronts. And don’t forget that all sprays organic or chemical will kill its favorite – aphids; but, as well, all insects whether they are beneficial or not. So, hand strip the aphids or spray them off with water and watch to see if the plant has such a low level of aphids that it is not a problem and leave the plant alone as nature maintains its natural balance. The good guys can’t survive without some of the bad guys.

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