Just Hovering

Jan 29, 2009

It's often mistaken for a honey bee.

It's not a honey bee. It's a hover fly or flower fly.

And this one, hovering around the plants last Saturday in the Storer Gardens at the University of California, Davis, looked like a Syrphus opinator to me.

So I asked UC Davis entomologist Robert "Bob" Bugg, who specializes in flower flies (Syrphidae), what it is.

"If I have to be an opinator, I'd opine that you're right," he quipped.

Bugg, who received his doctorate in entomology at UC Davis, does research on the biological control of insect pests, cover crops, and restoration ecology.

If you want to learn more about flower flies, read Dr. Bugg's "Flower Flies (Syrphidae) and Other Biological Control Agents for Aphids in Vegetable Crops" (Publication 8285, May 2008, University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.) 

By Kathy Keatley Garvey
Author - Communications specialist

Attached Images:

A hover fly or flower fly, Syrphus opinator, rests on a stem in the Storer Gardens, UC Davis. You'll be seeing more of these hover flies as the weather warms. This photo was taken Saturday, Jan. 24. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Hover Fly

HEAD OF HOVER FLY--This close-up photo shows the head of the hover fly, Syrphus opinator. The insect is often mistaken for a honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Head of Hover Fly