8/29/2009 5:48 PM
Hoverflies aka Flower Flies, or in this case Drone-Fly (Syrphidae) are characteristically known for their mimicry of bees, wasps or bumblebees, they have the same the bright colors and sometimes dense hair covering of bumblebees, but are completely defenseless. Flower flies cannot sting. Their specialty is hovering like humming birds, but they are also very fast and maneuverable flyers.
The larva of the Drone-Fly feeds on decaying organic material in stagnant water in small ponds, ditches and drains, pools around manure piles, sewage, and similar places containing water badly polluted with organic matter. Such water usually contains little or no oxygen and the larva breathes through the long thin tube that extends from its rear end to the surface of the water and that gives it its common name of ‘rat-tailed maggot’.
Adult Drone Flies feed on nectar from flowers and are often seen hovering in front of flower blooms in gardens in urban and rural areas. As such, they are helpful pollinators which is why they were introduced to North America from Europe in the 1800’s. Adults can be found in Florida from late March to early December and most often in September and October.
Copyright ©2009 Paul J. Erdek, FloridaGardener.com