Learn more about hoverflies

By Warren Dick

The Hoverfly is another interesting and very helpful member of the insect family. There are over 6000 different species of hoverflies throughout the world, ranging in size from 2mm to over 2cm.

The adult flies of most species feed on flower nectar and are often seen “hovering’ over flowers, this makes them invaluable as pollinators in the garden. As larva (maggots) they can feed on a wide variety of things including rotting plant and animal matter and even aphids.


The Stripy eye hoverfly is probably the most common noted species in the garden. These flies are often confused as bees, but with camouflage like that you cannot blame people for getting that one wrong. Even though they look like bees, they do not have any stinger and are therefore harmless. Their larva known as Rat Tailed maggots live in stagnant old water.


This is a much smaller species of hoverfly and probably the most valuable to the gardener. Their slug like larva live on plants, where they consume large amounts of aphids.? the funny thing with these Hoverflies is that they often mate in midair, where the male hangs from the female while she does all the flying. This mating spectacle is often done in large numbers, with up to 100 pairs hovering around in a small swarm.

There is definitely more to these flies than what meets the eye.

WATCH: Awesome time lapse of a hoverfly being devoured by carnivorous plant.

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Lauren Beukes

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