Beneficial Insects – The Hoverfly

Meet the hoverfly

Hoverflies are tremendous beneficial predators to attract into your landscape, as their larvae are voracious aphid-eating machines. They resemble a cross between a fly and a small yellow jacket at first glance. Besides their favorite snack, aphids, they provide excellent control ofscale, thrips, tiny mites and small caterpillars, like the cabbageworms that devour your broccoli and cruciferous vegetables.

While they may occasionally land on people, don’t worry because they don’t sting or bite. They’re just attracted to your salty sweat, a small offering for their hard work.

How to Attract Hoverflies

Try planting some of these easy-to-grow flowers and herbs for attracting hoverflies

Hoverfly larva eating an aphid

These plants are also favorites of other beneficials, like bees and parasitic mini wasps.

Learn to tolerate small outbreaks of aphids and other pests if you see hoverflies around your garden beds. With a little patience, the female hoverfly will lay scattered eggs on leaves being fed upon by small plant-sucking insects. Upon hatching, the hoverfly larvae feed on these pests for several weeks before pupating into adults.

Adult hoverflies feed primarily on the nectar of flowers and also help to pollinate.

With a couple of generations possible per year, you’ll soon begin to see your pest pressures diminish.

Try planting alyssum near your roses if you have had problems with curled rose slugs (sawfly) in the past.

Bill Grundmann

Bill is the owner of Organic Plant Care, LLC. He takes an integrated approach to tree care, focusing not only on the trees themselves but also on the surrounding environment, managing tree health from the "ground up" - healthy soil equals healthy plants. Bill is a New Jersey Licensed Tree Expert and NJ Approved Forester with over 35 years of experience in the tree care industry.