The Royal Society for the Appreciation of Hoverflies

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Hoverflies in My Sky Garden

One of my great summer joys is watering my balcony plants first thing in the morning. A few weeks ago, I was doing just that (using my fancy brand-spanking-new copper watering can) when along came a little hoverfly. These little guys somehow found their way up to my sky garden the moment I brought out my first plants and they’ve been visiting regularly ever since.

Delighted to see one, I jokingly said to her, “Would you like a little drink of water, Miss Hoverfly?” And before I could even finish, she alighted on the spout of my watering can, took a tiny sip from a single droplet of water and quickly hovered off to check out the rest of my garden. Well, that just made my morning, because—surprise, surprise—I adore hoverflies!

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The Royal Society for the Appreciation of Hoverflies

Seeing the hoverflies in my garden brought to mind a vague memory of reading about some sort of hoverfly appreciation society in the U.K. I was certain I’d read somewhere a while back that many folks in the U.K. were avid hoverfly fans and that there was even some sort of hoverfly appreciation society.

So, of course, I turned to the internet to see if I could find it. And while I am correct about British folk loving their hoverflies (so much so that many books are widely available to enable identification of specific hoverfly species in particular areas), I did not, to my surprise, find the Royal Society for the Appreciation of Hoverflies as I expected to. Perhaps there is no Royal Society for the Appreciation of Hoverflies, but I think there really ought to be one.

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Blue-eyed-Grass

 “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”

~ Vincent Van Gogh

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Male Hoverfly on Sweet Alyssum growing in my balcony garden.

Some Interesting Facts About Hoverflies

  • Hoverflies are harmless, as they have no stingers.
  • They use mimicry as a form of defense (they look very much like a wasp).
  • They are so successful at looking like wasps that many people mistake them for wasps or bees.
  • Hoverfly larvae are a gardener’s friend, eating aphids and garden insect pests.
  • They are important pollinators.
  • Hoverflies really do hover (while bees and wasps do not usually do so).
  • They have two wings, whereas wasps have four wings.
  • Hoverflies have short antennae (whereas the antennae of wasps are longer and look like bull horns protruding outwards).
  • Hoverflies do not have a “waist”, whereas wasps do—a narrowing between the thorax and abdomen.
  • They can fly backwards.
  • Hoverflies are attracted to carrot and mint family plants.
  • They are just so darned cute!

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“Nature never hurries.
Atom by atom, little by little she achieves her work.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 Image Credits:

All photos by madlyinlovewithlife: © 2015 madlyinlovewithlife

21 thoughts on “The Royal Society for the Appreciation of Hoverflies

  1. Wonderful pictures, hoverflies are like bees very useful to gardeners insects,
    I like wasps as they are interesting insects.
    I wish you a nice sunny week.

  2. A wonderfully captured series of photos and interesting information.. Very nicely done Jeannie..hope your having a great weekend :) Very hot and dry here :(

    • Thanks, Sam! I’m having a lovely long weekend. It’s hot and dry here too, but we have some cooler, rainy weather in the forecast. Thanks, as always, for stopping by! Enjoy the rest of your weekend. :))

  3. I’m embarrassed to say I’d never heard of Hoverflies before! But better late than never, right? Gorgeous photos of a gorgeous specimen. I get the feeling she knew she was being admired :) Thanks so much for sharing!!

    • Hello Takami! No need to feel embarrassed, as you are certainly not alone—many people have never heard of hoverflies and they are often mistaken for wasps or bees. Be on the lookout for them and I’m sure you will spot one. They are the cutest little things! Wishing you and yours a very happy week ahead! :))

  4. Lovely article Jeannie, I like Hoverflies too. I try not to squish any living thing, especially these, everything has a place on the planet and a job to do. Have a great week.
    Mark

    • Hi Mark! I’m totally with you about not squishing the little creepy crawlies of this world and that every living thing has its value and its place on this beautiful planet. Thanks so much for stopping by! Wishing you and yours a happy summer! :))

    • They are fun to photograph, aren’t they? And easier too, as some of them seem to settle a bit longer on things. Thanks for stopping by. Wishing you and yours a very happy week ahead! :))

      • When we went to a garden a few weeks ago, we tried to take pictures of the bumble bee, but they were so fast… it was so hard ! You are right, the hoverflies seem to stay longer :-)

        Thanks! :-)

  5. I so enjoyed this post, Jeannie! I was not familiar with hoverflies, so I went to wikipedia and saw they are everywhere (except Antarctica). I will be on the look-out now, and I thank you for the introduction! :D

    • I’m so glad I could introduce you to my little friends. I hadn’t identified them either until some years ago—they are so quiet and unassuming. But once I figured out who they were, I started noticing them everywhere—in my garden, on walks in our neighborhood, the prairies and in the mountains. I especially love watching them hover, which is really the easiest way to spot them. To me, they are such beautiful little insects. Thanks for stopping by! :))

  6. I’ve never met anyone so interested in hoverflies before:) Your photos capturing them are awesome – so crisp and clear! Beautiful:)

    • Hello Inger! Yes, hoverflies are not as well known as bees or wasps. They are important pollinators, so a vital part of the ecosystem, as so many insects are. I do enjoy exploring the insect world a bit. Thank you for your kind words. Wishing you and Tor a happy weekend! ~ Jeannie :))

  7. Beautiful photos Jeannie, and I never knew these were called Hoverflies…and their mimicry of wasps is quite good, as I assumed they stung as well :-) You’ve brought me to appreciate these great insects as well ~ your photos, writing and artistry making it possible! Continue to enjoy your great summer.

    • Thank you so much for your comment and kind words, Randall. I’m happy that I could introduce you to hoverflies—it can be fun to watch them hover about.. Wishing you a happy week ahead! :))

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