Marmalade Hoverfly planning for the future

At the weekend I was watching a Marmalade Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus) visiting my Knapweed. She seemed to be checking out various stalks and choosing carefully which one to land on. She then proceeded to do what looked like laying eggs. She seemed to choose the stalks with many aphids attached, so it made me wonder if her larvae find them tasty. A quick check on the internet and I discovered that was exactly right – Marmalade Hoverfly larvae feed on aphids. The females will seek out a colony of aphids so that their larvae will not go hungry. I was hoping to look out for these helpful little larvae, but apparently they feed on the aphids nocturnally so it’s unlikely I’ll see them chomping on them during the day. Although, I’ve seen photos others have taken, so you never know!

Ms Marmalade’s offspring will have plenty to eat as my Knapweeds are liberally coated in aphids!

By Suzy Shipman

I like to take photos and write words ...

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