Small, banded, and quiet, the Common Oblique Syrphid Fly comes and goes, visiting flowers just like the bees it mimics.
The oblique, or angled, yellow dashes at the tip of the Common Oblique Syrphid Fly help separate this species from others. Large, round, red eyes and short antennae are fast indicators that this insect is not actually a bee. The yellow and black banding and hovering flight capability can fool most, but a quick check helps remove the fear of being stung. Like other bee mimics in the Fly family, this fly has a long, flat abdomen that sometimes bends downward. Females have an abdomen that tapers to a point while males are more squared off at the tip. Both have the signature markings of two rows of oblique yellow dashes on the outer edges and two vertical yellow dashes between them.
Adults visit flowers and females lay fertilized eggs on or near areas where aphids are present. Aphids are tiny insects that pierce plant parts and drink its juices. They reproduce quickly, so aphids are considered a pest. Fortunately, the larvae of the Common Oblique Syrphid are voracious eaters of aphids. Within a week of being laid, the fly eggs hatch and the small, worm-like maggots get to work, feeding on aphids sharing the same plant. This species is found in all three countries of North America and should be a welcome guest in any flower or vegetable garden.
Scientific Name: Allograpta obliqua
Other Name(s): Common Oblique Hoverfly
Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 6mm to 9mm (0.23in to 0.35in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.