About 6,000 species within the family Syrphidae
Also known as Syrphid fly, Flower fly
Worldwide except in Arctic climates
These small, fast-moving insects resemble small wasps, but they are distinctive in their ability to hover near plants or people, examining them with their huge brown eyes. Sometimes called flower flies or syrphid flies, hoverflies sometime do land on people to lick salty sweat, but they do not sting.
Adult hoverflies feed on flower nectar and help pollinate some crops, but it is the larvae that are important predators in the garden. The tiny, nearly invisible slug-like larvae scour the undersides of plant leaves for aphids, and eat them as their primary food source. They can be seen with a 10x magnifying glass.
Food and Habitat:
Hoverflies that come to your garden in search of flower nectar will also look for plants that are infested with aphids, and scatter their eggs on leaves where young aphids are hatching.
Grow plenty of flowers with small florets such as sweet alyssum and members of the carrot family. Tolerate small aphid outbreaks in spring to help support a thriving summer population of hoverflies.