A warm summers day and you will find many a hoverfly hovering over your flowers in search of pollen and nectar. Yesterday in my garden the fennel flower head was the center of attraction for marmalade flies, alighting here and there to drink some nectar.
There are around 250+ species of hoverfly in the UK alone and many more species around the world. Bee like in colour, they can be mistaken for a bee except for those big ‘fly like’ eyes. The marmalade fly, Episyrphus balteatus is the most common here in the UK mainly found here in the summer months. I personally think they are pretty with their marmalade coloured bodies and transparent wings. We’ve not seen so many bees here in my garden so far this year, maybe more bumble bees if anything so the marmalade fly is a very welcome pollinator.
Hoverflies for pest control
Not only are hoverflies useful in the garden as pollinators. The hoverfly larvae too play an important role in any garden munching its way through numerous aphids. Because of the hoverfly’s larvae preference for aphids hoverflies are considered as useful agents in biological pest control.