The Full Guide To Hover Flies (2023)

What Are Hover Flies?

The hover flies are also known as syrphid flies and flower flies and belong to the syrphidae family of insects. As the name suggests, these flies have been seen as nectar from the flowers and feeding over the flowers. The adult hoverflies tend to feed on pollen or nectar, while maggots (larvae) can eat an array of food options. There are different species out there, and some of them feed on the animal matter and decaying plants in the streams and soil. In addition, some larvae also prey on plant-sucking insects, such as thrips and aphids. 

For now, there are more than six thousand species, and they can be seen all around the world, but they aren’t seen in Antarctica. For the most part, they are harmless to mammals, but the majority of their species are mimics of bees and wasps. As far as the size is concerned, it depends on the species. This is because some of them are slender, elongated, and small, but some of them are hairy and large. As for appearance, the hoverflies have a pair of wings, and they are fully functional. In the majority of cases, the hoverflies are bright in color, but some bands, stripes, and spots are brown or yellow. 

hover flies

Understanding Hoverflies: Characteristics, Behavior, and Impact on the Ecosystem

Given the color, they are mistaken for bees and wasps, but they are majorly harmless to humans. There are some exceptions, but some of them have a spurious vein that’s located parallel to the wing vein. Their mouthparts and legs aren’t thin and long, and the facial cuticle has significant bulges and projections. Their wings have smooth gradients of tints or clear wings, and the veins run parallel to the rear edge of the wings. On the other hand, the thoraces and abdomens have a glossy surface, but the colors are generally bee-like (yes, yellows and browns).

The larvae of hoverflies will feed on a variety of food options, such as animal matter and decaying plants, but some of them also feed on aphids and thrips. The predatory species of hoverflies are beneficial to gardeners and farmers, and some of them are also used in biological control activities. However, there are some random instances where hoverfly larvae caused myiasis in human beings, and it only happens when someone ingests them through contaminated food items. For the most part, they are found in the biomes but aren’t seen in the tundra deserts or Antarctica. 

On the other hand, some species are common in Europe, the Nearctic area, or America. There are some aquatic larvae as well, which are seen in the stagnant water, and they prey on plant parasites and aphids. They are commonly seen residing on the leaves while adult flies are seen around flowers, and their primary food source is pollen and nectar. 

Why Do Hover Flies Cluster Up In Your Home?

Hoverflies tend to lay their eggs near aphids, and the larvae feed on garden pests, which is why many people get hoverflies for their gardens. They have a natural predatory nature and are attracted to garden plantings and weedy borders. Moreover, they are attracted to some specific flowers, such as wild carrot, wild mustard, coriander, sweet alyssum, flowered herbs, and dill. Honestly, they are beneficial for the plants but having too much is very frustrating. 

So, if you are looking for reasons why hoverflies cluster up in your home, it could be because you already have an aphid infestation, if the weather is getting warmer, and if the flower garden is large. For this reason, you might need to remove specific flowers if you want to stop attracting these flies. In particular, they are seen around bright and fragrant flowers since they are pollinators. Similarly, if you have an aphid infestation, they will lay eggs near the plants, resulting in more flies in the home. 

How To Get Rid Of Hover Flies?

For the most part, hoverflies are helpful when it comes down to pest control and organic gardening. They are likely to pollinate the plants, and the larvae will consume the aphids, including scales, mites, mealy bugs, and harmful pests. For the most part, they look like wasps, but they are lowly likely to hurt you. On the other hand, if their presence is frustrating you, we are sharing different ways to get rid of the hoverflies. 

Using Fan 

If the hoverflies are around the outlet and there is an outlet available, you should use a fan. This is because the hoverflies don’t like fans, which means they will simply fly away. However, keep in mind that you need to keep the fan on for at least one day to ensure the flies move to a different location. If they manage to return, you can simply switch it back on again. 

Fly Repellent

Creating a fly repellent is another way of getting rid of the hoverflies. Various items do a great job as a natural repellent. The best thing about using natural fly repellents is that you won’t have to worry about harming your kids or pets around. For this purpose, you can follow the below-mentioned option;

  • Water, soap, and lemon – you can simply mix these ingredients in a spray bottle and spray them where you see hoverflies in abundance 
  • Cloves and lemon – for this purpose, you need to cut the lemon in half and put cloves all over the lemon. Once done, you can put the lemon outside where there are hoverflies 
  • Apple cider vinegar, basil oil, rosemary oil, peppermint oil, dish soap, mineral oil – this is an extremely strong combination that can easily deter the hoverflies, given the strong fragrance 
  • Fruit peels – in particular, you can use citrus fruit peels as they do a great job at keeping the hoverflies at bay. These peels can be added wherever there are more flies 
  • Citronella smoke – you can opt for citronella candles and/or oils to eliminate hoverflies from your home and it’s one of the quickest methods 

Fly Traps

Fly traps, such as vinegar traps, sugar water traps, and fly trap plants, effectively kill hoverflies in the home. The first two are quite explanatory, but as for plant traps, you can opt for sundew or venue plants. 

Where Do Hover Flies Come From?

There is no specific origination of the hoverflies. However, there are over two hundred genera and more than 6000 species available in the market. Hoverflies can be found in most climates, except for high altitudes, Antarctica, and extreme deserts. 

Will Hover Flies Sting Or Bite Me?

This is where the hoverflies are great since they don’t bite or sting. In the majority of cases, they have termed sweat bees that sting, but they are different from sweat bees. As far as the hoverflies are concerned, they are harmless and won’t bite or sting. 

How Bad Is The Sting Of A Hover Fly?

Since the hoverflies don’t sting, you don’t have to worry about the severity of the sting. There are times when some species can lead to myiasis in humans, but it’s an incredibly rare case. 

Are Hover Flies Destructive?

No, the hoverflies are not destructive. They are quite beneficial to plants and gardens. This is why they are not destructive. 

Do Hover Flies Get Attracted To Water?

Yes, hoverflies do get attracted to water as well as sweat. This is why they are commonly seen in summer and absent in deserts due to a lack of water. So, yes, hoverflies are attracted to water. 

How To Get Rid Of Hover Fly Bites?

When it comes down to the bites, we have already shared that hoverflies don’t sting you or bite you. For this reason, there won’t be any bites, and you don’t have to worry about the bites either. 

Why Are Hover Flies Bad?

The only reason hoverflies are bad is that they are a nuisance. Hoverflies are generally safe for humans and do not cause any damage to structures. So, make sure that you only get rid of the hoverflies if they have become frustrating in the surroundings.