Many hoverflies have black and yellow markings brilliantly mimicking bees and wasps. They have one wing on each side of body (rather than the two that are on bees and wasps) and have much shorter antennae than bees and wasps. Some of the darker coloured species often look highly polished whilst are very furry and resemble bumblebees. They have very large eyes that may almost fill the head! Most species have a fast hovering flight. They have no bristles on the top of their thorax part behind head. They may have a few on the margins of the thorax and they may have fine hair all over.

Scientific name

Diptera; Family Syrphidae

Did you know..

As true flies they can’t sting but not only do some look like wasps they can even mimic the stinging action of a wasp, by pushing the tip of their abdomen into your fingers if they are caught and held! There are about 270 different hoverfly species in Britain and many species are useful to the gardener since their larvae eat pest aphids on garden plants.

Similar species

some bees and wasps, but hoverflies have only one pair of wings, do not have pollen baskets and they have large eyes that cover most of the head with shorter antennae.

Useful links

The Garden Safari

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