Yellowjacket Hoverfly

The Yellowjacket Hoverfly (Milesia virginieusis) is an insect in the Syrphidae family of hoverflies. It is also known as the Virginia Flower Fly or the Syrphid Fly. It is a syrphid. It is also a pollinator. It is related to the Drone Fly (Eristalis tenax).

The Yellowjacket Hoverfly looks like a hornet, bee, or wasp, but it does not have a stinger on its tail. It is harmless. It is bright, glossy yellow with dark bands on its abdomen. It has six short yellowish legs. It has very large, black compound eyes. It has one pair of translucent (clear, see-through) wings with dark veins. 

Yellowjacket Hoverfly

It grows to about 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) in length.

The Yellowjacket Hoverfly is common worldwide, on every continent except Antarctica. It lives in a range of habitats, except deserts and ice regions.

It hovers over flowering plants. The adult fly feeds on nectar from flowers, as well as pollen. It is a pollinator, but it does not carry as much pollen as a bee. The larvae (grub or maggot) feeds on plants, bacteria, and decaying matter.

The female lays eggs, which hatch into larvae. The larva of the Yellowjacket Hoverfly is a maggot, like the larva of a House Fly. When the larva is fully grown, it pupates (forms a casing), and after 2 days the adult hoverfly emerges from the pupa.

Yellowjacket Hoverfly

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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