The Hover Fly is an amazing little unit. It can fly in one spot—hover—like a very small helicopter. They are a delight to watch roving around the garden and stopping in mid air to check out a point of interest. At first, we might mistake them for wasps. They have a wasp-like appearance that can cause a knee-jerk reaction in humans to freak out and recoil or swipe them away. But actually, these insects are amazing little creatures when you get an eye for them.
Other than just being cool, Hoverflies do good things. They are pollinators, for starters. Adults of most of the approximately 6000 species of these insects feast on pollen and nectar. Some species’ larvae will feast on decaying plant and animal matter, making them good garden buddies. Different species behave in their own particular manners. Larvae of some species are insectivores, eating aphids, for example. These eaters are so hungry for aphids that they are used by farmers to protect crops as a method in biological control. Yum, yum.
Mostly, when I spot one of these insects in the garden, I stop and watch with appreciation and awe at their ability to zip around and hover, and zip around and hover. This little creature doesn’t need to be useful to humans to be appreciated, but hey, we need their helping gifts! And why not let them give us a start when we think they are coming after us with their wasp stinger? It’s all just a bit of good garden fun; those little hoverflies in wasp’s clothing.