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Virginia Flower Fly (Milesia virginiensis)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Virginia Flower Fly.


 Updated: 8/7/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org



  Virginia Flower Fly  
Picture of Virginia-Flower-Fly-Milesia


This harmless woodland Flower Fly doesn't float like a butterfly or sting like a bee, but it behaves a little bit like both of them.





Some flies are fantastic mimics of bees, wasps and hornets. The alarming colors mean they are likely to be left alone and not attacked as frequently by predators. This particular species looks like and also flies like Yellowjackets, which are known for aggressive defensive (and offensive) stinging behavior. This Flower Fly hovers over blossoms like wasps and can be easily mistaken for one. Since it is a fly, however, it does not sting and is considered harmless to people. The loud buzzing it makes when it flies is not a characteristic of wasps, but is natural for a fly. This species of fly is actually quite beneficial to have in the garden, like butterflies, because it is also an active pollinator of the flower species it visits, which aids the plant in reproducing. It has a reputation of sometimes hovering by people's heads, as if trying to tell them something. For that reason, it was once known as a 'news bee' because it acted as if it was delivering the daily news. It is an endearing insect and so well-liked that the U.S. Post Office featured them on a postage stamp in 1999 when it showcased insects.

Adults can be found in a variety of habitats ranging from forests and meadows to parks and backyard gardens. Adults are most active during the summer months and can be found around flowers or resting on low shrubs and plants. Larvae (maggots) are likely to be found in rotting wood where they will feed until they develop into flying adults.
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Basic Information
Common Name: Virginia Flower Fly
Other Name(s): Hover Fly, News Bee, Yellowjacket Hover Fly, Virginia Flower Fly
Scientific Name: Milesia virginiensis
Category: Fly or Mosquito


General Identification
Size (Adult; Length): 18mm to 21mm (0.70in to 0.82in)
Colorwheel Graphic
Identifying Colors: black, yellow, orange, red
Additional Descriptors: flying, stripe, band, hover, flower, large, big,




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Family: Syrphidae
Genus: Milesia
Species: virginiensis




Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
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 below as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections below 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.
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico


Territorial Area Map (Visual Reference Guide)
The map below showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Virginia Flower Fly may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data can be useful in seeing concentrations of a particular species over the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some species are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America.
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


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