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The Flies that You Actually Want to Have

 
gardener
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I know I commonly think of flies as being really dirty and annoying....and some are.

However there are tons of different harmless types of flies, some that prey on smaller insects, and others that are great pollinators. These are the ones I get excited to see!

Do you have any types of flies that you get excited when you see them?
 
pollinator
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I'm learning about hoverflies. There are so many critters that look a bit bee-like in their colouring; it's hard to tell them all apart until you look closer. Hoverflies look like bees with fly eyes and fly wings. They do a lot of pollination, because the adults eat pollen and nectar. The immature ones feed on aphids and things like that. So these are definitely good guys. :)
 
Steve Thorn
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I saw these guys flying around everywhere in my food forest and wondered what they were?

They are super fast and pretty tiny. I managed to get a photo of one, and in the next photo was just a flash.

They appear to be long legged flies, which from what I've read, seem to be super welcome!

Here's a description of them from Wikipedia

Dolichopodidae generally are small flies with large, prominent eyes and a metallic cast to their appearance, though there is considerable variation among the species. Most have long legs, though some do not.

Dolichopodidae are a family of flies ranging in size from minute to medium-sized (1mm to 9mm). They have characteristically long and slender legs, though their leg length is not as striking as in families such as the Tipulidae. Their posture often is stilt-like standing high on their legs, with the body almost erect. In colour most species have a green-to-blue metallic lustre, but various other species are dull yellow, brown or black.

Adults of the Dolichopodidae live largely in grassy places and shrubbery. The flies occur in a wide range of habitats, near water or in meadows, woodland edges and in gardens.

The adults are predators, feeding on small invertebrates including Collembola, aphids, and the larvae of Oligochaeta. Species of the genus Dolichopus commonly prey on the larvae of mosquitoes.

The larvae occupy a wide range of habitats. Many are predators of small invertebrates and generally live in moist environments such as soil, moist sand, or rotting organic matter. Genera such as Medetera live as predators under tree bark or in the tunnels of bark beetles.



It amazes me how the smallest creatures can sometimes have a huge beneficial impact, and help to keep nature in balance!
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pollinator
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Robber flies
They are good predators. I'd like to get a picture of robber fly preying next time.
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Robber fly on castor bean stalk
Robber fly on castor bean stalk
 
May Lotito
pollinator
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Missouri Department of Comservation page about robber fly:

https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/robber-flies

Quote from the page:

The predatory habits of robber flies, both as adults and larvae, tend to put them into the same “beneficial” category as lady beetles, lacewings, mantises, and assassin bugs, since they devour many pest insects, including insects that damage crops. One species is known to prey on Japanese beetles. Some, however, eat honey bees, as well as wasps and bumble bees.


I would like to have the one that preys on japanese beetles.

 
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Fire flies! Their larvae eat slugs and snails.
 
May Lotito
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Black soldier fly
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Black soldier fly
Black soldier fly
 
Steve Thorn
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May Lotito wrote:Robber flies
They are good predators. I'd like to get a picture of robber fly preying next time.



Here's one I took last August. They are quickly becoming one of my favorite bugs!

Hello robberflies, and so long Japanese beetles!
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Location: San Diego, California- Zone 10a
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Rad!

Heidi Schmidt wrote:I'm learning about hoverflies. There are so many critters that look a bit bee-like in their colouring; it's hard to tell them all apart until you look closer. Hoverflies look like bees with fly eyes and fly wings. They do a lot of pollination, because the adults eat pollen and nectar. The immature ones feed on aphids and things like that. So these are definitely good guys. :)



I got some footage of hoverflies pollinating my cilantro (coriander) flowers last spring. They’re tiny! I used a magnifying monocle in front of my iphone camera to capture them.
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Steve, what camera are you using to get these great up-close photos? I have an old Minolta X-700 that I haven't used since 80's! Its so heavy for me now in my 70's but I'm sure it would be better than my phone! LOL!
 
Steve Thorn
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I have a Galaxy s10. I keep it in my pocket so i have it ready to snap a picture at a moments notice!
 
pollinator
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I was in southern missouri, camping, and a huge black and white fly flew in the bus.
I thought it was a horse fly and would bite people but it grabbed a regular fly and exited the back door.
gift
 
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