Friday, July 25, 2014

Hover Flies : " I'm Not A Bee!" ... not that that's a bad thing.

My name is Hoover and I am a Hover Fly.
I am NOT a bee.
What some bees and I have in common is my appearance and my awesome importance to gardeners and farmers.

So, bees and hover flies, we're both insects and we both fly, we both pollinate flowers, and we both look pretty awesome.
And even though plenty of bees (and wasps) don't have the traditional striping we associate with bees, I do resemble some of the more common bees and hornets ... that's an evolutionary adaptation called "mimicry".
I'm totally harmless, but looking like an irritable stinger packing hornet or bee gives me extra protection against predators.
Lots of animals use mimicry and it works great! 

... Except with humans ... it can work in reverse and I get sprayed or swatted in a case of mistaken identity.
Ignorance ... what a bummer that  is ... just ask any harmless nonvenomous snake that was sliced, diced, or just run over for being a snake.
Ignorance kills the innocent.
(Not that venomous snakes are "bad", but that's a whole nother post ...)

I am called a "Hover Fly", because that's what I do.
I hover.
I also buzz really loudly while I hover.
If you come close while I am busy hovering, I may move up, down, forwards, or even backwards like a helicopter.
I love hovering in place and may do this for pretty long periods of time.
It's my thing ... hovering ... I'm a hover fly, bro.
Here's some official good news about me from
Texas A &M University.

"Adult hover flies are important pollinators and can be found feeding at flower blossoms or around aphid colonies, where they lay their eggs. The larvae of hover flies are important predators of pests, such as aphids, scales, thrips and caterpillars. 

They are rivaled only by ladybird beetles and lacewings. When hover fly larvae populations are high, they may control 70 to 100% of an aphid population. 

Aphids alone cause tens of millions of dollars of damage annually to crops worldwide, so the aphid-feeding hover flies are being recognized as potential agents for use in biological control."

You can click on that Texas A& M link up above to learn more about my hover fly awesomeness.

Just remember, I can't help you control pests in a poisoned garden.
Pesticides aren't selective.

Finally,  ... not being rude here, but I wanted to just show you my butt so you can see I have no stinger.

I am not a bee, wasp, or hornet.

I show you my behind,
in hopes you'll be kind.


Julie Zickefoose said...

J'adore hoverflies. I've taught my kids to identify them so that they can tell me when one gets in the house. For whatever reason, I've found that they die pretty quickly when they come in our house. So I catch them in my hand against a window if I can and release them. I love the way they hang motionless in the air in front of your face. And the scary way they pump that tucked-up abdomen, as if they could sting if they wanted to. Nice post, good public service messsage!

lisa said...

Now that is amazing. I had never heard of the hover fly. Do the exist just in the south? I don't think I have ever seen one.

LaDivaCucina said...

Hahaha! He said "butt!" It's nice to know that there are more pollinators out there! I've never heard of the hover fly before this post, will have to keep my eyes open the next time I'm in the garden.

Mark P said...

Those are nice shots. We have them around here, and the dogs have problems telling them from the stinging critters. If it's buzzing around them, they snap at it.