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Marmalade Hoverfly

Latin name: Episyrphus balteatus

Size: 9-12mm

Lifespan: 1 week as larvae, 2 weeks to pupate and then adult hoverflies for approximately a month, although lifespan varies by season, being shorter in the summer and longer in the winter.

Diet: The larvae eat aphids and the adult hoverflies feed on nectar.

They are one of the few species of fly that can crush pollen grains to feed on them. This is a great source of protein for their eggs.

Habitat: Marmalade hoverflies are widespread, however they are particularly common in gardens, meadows and woodland where the plant life provides nectar and pollen for the adults, and also where aphids are found for the larvae.

Did you know? Like many other hoverflies, the marmalade hoverfly has a distinct black and yellow pattern, as well as pair of wings. This mimics bees, sending a strong message to predators that they are not to be messed with, despite posing little to no threat. Swarms of hoverflies have been known to cause panic amongst people for this reason.

Upon closer inspection the marmalade hoverfly is easily distinguished from bees and wasps by its distinct abdomen. As their name suggests they can often be found hovering and can even fly backwards, another fact that makes them easy to identify.

Where to find them

UK map showing the range of the marmalade hover fly

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