Currently viewing the category: "Syrphid Flies"

Subject:  Help with vespid ID
Geographic location of the bug:  Morgantown West Virginia
Date: 09/27/2021
Time: 07:11 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Had this insect in my home. Looks like a vespid of some kind. Can’t really match it to any photos we see online. Your help is appreciated
How you want your letter signed:  Dana

Virginia Flower Fly

Dear Dana,
This is not a Vespid nor any other type of Wasp.  This is a Fly in the family Syrphidae, commonly called Flower Flies or Hover Flies.  Many species in the family Syrphidae are effective mimics of stinging wasps and bees which helps to protect the harmless flies from predators who mistake them for a stinging creature.  We will attempt a species identification for you if we have time.  There are extensive archives on BugGuide should you decide to attempt your own research.  We believe we have correctly identified it as a Virginia Flower Fly,
Milesia virginiensis, on Insect Identification for the Casual Observer.

Wow! Thank you for the prompt reply and your expertise!
Your time is much appreciated!

Subject:  Identify Insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Essex UK
Date: 09/03/2021
Time: 07:28 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi
Spotted this apparently resting on the ground and wondering what it is. Don’t think I’ve ever seen the like.
Can you help?
How you want your letter signed:  John

Hornet Mimic Hover Fly

Dear John,
This is a Hornet Mimic Hover Fly,
Volucella zonaria, a harmless species of Fly that benefits by mimicking stinging insects.  According to Wildlife Trusts:  “At almost 2cm long, the hornet mimic hoverfly is the largest hoverfly species in the UK. As its name suggests, it is an excellent mimic of the hornet, but is harmless to humans. Only a very rare visitor to the country up to the 1940s, it has become more common in Southern England in recent years, and is still spreading northwards, perhaps as a result of climate change. It is particularly prevalent in urban areas. The adults are migratory and the larvae live inside wasps’ nests.”

Hornet Mimic Hover Fly

Thank you so much for that. We were intrigued about the strange insect.
You have been most helpful.

Subject:  Wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  Paignton , Devon
Date: 08/23/2021
Time: 07:49 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Cannot identify what it is
How you want your letter signed:  Eric newnham

Hover Fly

Dear Eric,
This is not a wasp.  It is a True Fly, more specifically a Hover Fly or Flower Fly in the family Syrphidae.  We have identified it as
Volucella zonaria on Nature Spot where it states:  “This is a hornet mimic and is one of our largest and most spectacular hoverflies which can be recognised by its yellow and black banded abdomen” and “This species became established in Britain in the 1940s and until recently it had very much a southerly distribution with most records coming from south of a line from the Severn Estuary to The Wash, however it seems to be expanding its range and is now quite frequently recorded further north.”  It is also pictured on British Naturalists’ Association.


Subject:  This insect was in my garden
Geographic location of the bug:  North down Northern Ireland
Date: 08/15/2021
Time: 12:28 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi I’m usually quick good at figuring out the garden wildlife but couldn’t figure This one
How you want your letter signed:  With thanks Lianne

Migrant Hover Fly

Dear Lianne,
We turned to NatureSpot to identify your female Migrant Hover Fly,
Eupeodes corollae, and according to NatureSpot:  “It is a common species, its numbers in Britain often boosted by migration.”

Oh that’s so good thank you so much for the quick response.
I’ll have a read up now
Lianne Rea

Subject:  What’s this bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  West Chester, PA
Date: 08/07/2021
Time: 10:01 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I saw this bug today, and I have never seen it before. It flew very strangely compared to other bees. Does it sting?
How you want your letter signed:  Julia

Yellowjacket Hover Fly

Dear Julia,
This is a Yellowjacket Hover Fly, also known as a Good News Bee.  Hover Flies neither sting nor bite, however, they do mimic the stinging Yellowjacket to discourage predators

Yellowjacket Hover Fly appearing dead

It is somewhat troubling to us that this harmless creature is alive in one image, and appears dead in the second.  It is our mission to educate the public about insects and other things that crawl, and since the Yellowjacket Hover Fly is harmless, we consider this to be an example of Unnecessary Carnage.



Subject:  What is this fly?
Geographic location of the bug:  Los Angeles County, CA
Date: 06/16/2021
Time: 09:04 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this small fly on my kitchen window. Do you know what it is?
How you want your letter signed:  SoCalFly

Hover Fly

This is a Hover Fly or Flower Fly in the family Syrphidae, but we are uncertain of the species.  Many members of this family mimic stinging bees and wasps for protection, despite being harmless themselves.  The Natural History of Orange County has many similar looking individuals.