Syrphid Flies

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HPIPM Home > Woody Ornamentals > Miscellaneous > Biological Controls of Insects Associated with Trees and Shrubs >Syrphid Flies
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Taxonomy
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Hexapoda (including Insecta)
Order: Diptera
Family: Syrphidae
Genus: Syritta
Species: pipiens
Scientific Name
Syritta pipiens
(Linnaeus, 1758 )
Common Names

thick-legged hover fly

Compiled by Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University:

Syrphid Flies

Diptera: Syrphidae

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Photo by Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org

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Syrphid flies, also called flower flies or hover flies, are common brightly colored flies. Typical markings are yellow or orange with black, and they may look like bees or yellowjacket wasps. However, syrphid flies are harmless to humans. Usually they can be seen feeding on flowers.

It is the larval stage of the syrphid fly that is an insect predator. Variously colored, the tapered "maggots" crawl over foliage and can daily down dozens of aphids. Syrphid flies are particularly important in controlling aphid infestations early in the season when its still too cool for lady beetles and other predators.

A few species of syrphid flies, such as the narcissus bulb fly, develop by feeding on and tunnelling plant tissues. These plant feeding syrphid flies often develop into large, stout-bodied flies that may resemble bumblebees.

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Photo by Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org
Syrphid fly eggs.
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Syrphid fly eggs.
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Photo by Frank Peairs, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org
Syrphid fly larvae.
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Syrphid fly larvae.
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Photo by Frank Peairs, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org
Syrphid fly pupae.
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Syrphid fly pupae.

The information herein is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and that listing of commercial products, necessary to this guide, implies no endorsement by the authors or the Extension Services of Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming or Montana. Criticism of products or equipment not listed is neither implied nor intended. Due to constantly changing labels, laws and regulations, the Extension Services can assume no liability for the suggested use of chemicals contained herein. Pesticides must be applied legally complying with all label directions and precautions on the pesticide container and any supplemental labeling and rules of state and federal pesticide regulatory agencies. State rules and regulations and special pesticide use allowances may vary from state to state: contact your State Department of Agriculture for the rules, regulations and allowances applicable in your state and locality.

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