Hoverfly on a Shasta daisy

12 07 2017

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

WEB Hoverfly on Shasta

Hoverfly (also known as a flower fly or syrphid fly) on a Shasta daisy

Here’s a random fact I just came across: there is a flower fly found only in the cloud forests of Costa Rica that is named for Bill Gates (Bill Gates’ flower fly). Another one is named after Gates’ associate Paul Allen (Paul Allen’s flower fly). The flies were named such in recognition of their “great contributions to the science of Dipterology” (From the order Diptera, which includes insects that use just two wings to fly)

So now you know, too. You’re welcome. 😁

But wait! There’s more! Curiosity took me to a site that answered my burning question—how long do hoverflies live? A lot shorter life than I imagined! Here’s the answer:

Their live span is similar to other flies. They can live anywhere between 15 to 30 days and it all depends on the climate and temperature they are in.

Hoverfly on ‘Sweet Kate’ spiderwort

16 05 2017

Flowerfly (hoverfly) on ‘Sweet Kate’ spiderwort (I enlarged the little guy so you can see it closeup)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Spiderwort with Hoverfly web

Hoverfly closeup

Hoverfly on Rudbeckia bloom

12 07 2016

Hoverfly (or Flower Fly) on a type of Rudbeckia (don’t know specific type); photographed at Green Spring Gardens. Flower flies are very tiny (usually about 1/4 inch from head to tip of tail), but this one was even tinier!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

WEB Hoverfly Rudbeckia

Flowerfly on Rudbeckia

2 08 2014

Flowerfly (or Hoverfly) on Rudbeckia bloom; photographed at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Hoverfly on Rhodiola

7 05 2012

Hoverfly or Flower fly (Syrphidae) on Rhodiola (Rhodiola kirilowii); photographed at Green Spring Gardens. This Flower fly was especially tiny—measuring about 1/6 of an inch!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Flower Fly on Jacob’s Ladder

1 05 2012

Flower Fly or Hoverfly (Syrphidae) on Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium reptans), a Virginia native plant

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Same time, last year: Hoverfly on African daisy

24 03 2012

Originally posted March 24, 2011

Hoverfly (Syrphidae), also known as Flower fly, on an African daisy (Dimorphotheca aurantiaca)

I found this image in my archives recently—photographed at Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island north of Victoria, Canada three years ago. If you’re a garden lover or love to photograph gardens, put this place at the top of your “to visit” list. It is spectacular!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Nursery Web Spider on Japanese White Anemone

11 09 2011

The late afternoon light illuminating this Japanese White Anemone bloom is what first caught my eye. Then I noticed the spider. At first glance, I thought, “what an unusual spider with extra antennae and a striped head.” It wasn’t until I looked through my macro lens that I saw what it really was—a Nursery Web Spider (I’m fairly confident with the i.d.) consuming a Hoverfly for dinner! Alas, poor Hoverfly. (Of course, spiders have to eat, too). Photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Hoverfly on Cleome flower

26 06 2011

While I was photographing this Cleome flower at Brookside Gardens, this little Hoverfly (also known as a Flower Fly or Syrphid Fly) flew back and forth to the end of the flower (hence the name, “hover”). I didn’t notice the even tinier little yellow bug (perhaps an aphid or a thrip—or maybe even Hoverfly larvae?) sharing the “tightrope.”

Learn everything you ever wanted to know about this very tiny insect here. In the UK, there is a group called the Hoverfly Recording Scheme (HRS), who keep tabs on more than 150 different species of Hoverflies in Britain.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Hoverfly on Coneflower

29 08 2010

Hoverfly (also known as a flower flies) photographed on a Coneflower (Echinacea). These tiny flies have honey bee-like markings, but are harmless. Many species of hoverfly larvae prey upon pest insects, such as aphids and leafhoppers, making them a natural means of reducing the levels of pests. Hoverflies also like alyssum, buckwheat, chamomile, parsley and yarrow.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Eensy weensy spider…

30 06 2008

My friend Tom took us out to his farm in Orange County, Virginia, this morning. Tom and Michael commenced to mowing about an acre of grass (more or less) while I went exploring.

This tiny white-as-snow spider stood out in a field of grass and I tried photographing her despite the swaying grass. The first thing I noticed was the big white posterior. Every time I moved in to focus, she did this crab-like sideways dance for several shots. Then another bug flew onto the same grass stalk and was instantly caught. It was already a goner before I realized what had happened (even spiders have to eat). Of all the grasses springing from Tom’s 280 acres, this one unfortunate bug wandered onto this one blade, and the rest is history.

This is a female ‘Misumena vatia’ spider—also known as a “white death spider,” “flower crab spider,” or “goldenrod crab spider.” For some really fascinating information about how this spider can change colors, click here or here. These spiders sometimes aim for prey much larger than they are, as evidenced here. And for some really nice images of one on a cosmos flower, click here. For detailed information on this spider, click here.

I thought the prey looked awfully familiar. A “Hoverfly” made its appearance on a posting I made in May. Click here for the story and photographs.

THIS JUST IN…Tom, said proprietor of Springbook Farm, has informed me that the plant is a Buckhorn plantain flower head (Plantago lanceolata).

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Hardly seems fair winning my own prize…

6 05 2008

I remembered photographing this bug about two years ago and sharing it with my Garden Club members and a few friends. I went through my e-mail archives and found it this evening! Here’s the e-mail thread:

7/7/2006: Hey everyone…Remember when I mentioned that I thought that bug might be a bee? I was hesitant and apparently rightly so! Thanks to my friend Jeff, I have been enlightened on one of the differences between bees and flies…thanks, Jeff! Be sure to click on the link he sent…it matches my bug exactly! Here was his letter below. — Cindy


Cin, It is a type of fly, Order Diptera. Like all flies, it has two wings. Most other flying insects — bees, wasps, even most beetles, have four. I would say that your specimen is a Flower Fly or Hoverfly, family Syrphidae, species Toxomerus.

From my Dad 7/7/2006
Oh, I knew immediately that it was a Flower Fly of the order Diptera, and that it was of the family Syrphidae, but I was uncertain of the exact species so I just let it slide — your misclassification was harmless and, as you know, I dislike correcting people in such matters (whether bee, fly or flea, it was a gorgeous photo).


Great. Now everyone on two coasts knows I’m a nerd. A little bit of Mr. Science goes a long way. — Jeff

No, now everyone knows I have a terribly, terribly, TERRIBLY brilliant, curious, mentally acute, resourceful, wise, erudite friend and one is judged by the company one keeps….so it’s a win-win situation for me! And remember, it’s all about me! In fact, I put your entire name because there was another Jeff in the e-mail and although he is also very bright, I did not want to give him credit where credit was not due. The proper nerd has been publicly thanked. Remember, I’ve been educating these Weedettes for over two years on everything I know and everything I research…..they’re used to MY nerdiness….I just brought company with me this time! — Cindy


I photographed this same fly (okay, not THIS same fly, but a distant relative) last summer. I knew it looked familiar. Here are closeups of one on a coneflower. Learn more about this very beneficial insect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoverfly

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.   www.cindydyer.com/GardenPhotos