Hoverflies are one of the most beneficial insects in your garden. Adult hoverflies pollinate flowers with a diet consisting of nectar and pollen. But what about hoverfly larvae? What do they eat? Do hoverflies eat aphids?
During the larvae stage, hoverflies emerge from their eggs in search of food. One of the main sources of food for larvae hoverflies is aphids. Hoverflies are one of the best natural aphid control methods you can implement.
What Else Do Hoverflies Eat?
Adult hoverflies eat pollen and nectar from flowers. They prefer overgrown patches where wildflowers and dandelions are abundant. Hoverflies like to hang out in these areas because they offer shelter plus an abundance of food.
Adult hoverflies will look for places to lay their eggs with a large aphid population. Aphids are the main food source for larvae stage hoverflies.
Once the adult hoverfly has found a spot to lay their eggs, they will happily go on their way, knowing that their eggs will hatch into an abundant food source.
In addition to aphids, larvae hoverflies will also eat scales, thrips, and certain types of caterpillars.
All these are considered pests to your garden and can cause severe damage to your plants. Many of these pests will eat the leaves from plants. When a plant is left with damaged leaves or the leaves are gone entirely, the plant cannot perform photosynthesis.
If all the plant’s energy is going to repair its leaves, it will not be able to function properly or provide the plant with other necessary functions.
Also, if the leaves are damaged, the plant cannot even perform this process. The part of the plant that can convert the sun’s energy into plant energy is located in the leaves.
No, adult hoverflies only eat nectar. This is often the case for many insects, such as butterflies, where the larval stages eat other insects, and the adults eat nectar.
What Other Benefits Do Hoverflies Bring?
Hoverflies are beneficial in more ways than just eating these pests, which is pretty amazing.
Knowing there are natural ways to keep your garden safe from detrimental pests is great.
Sometimes, pests can get so out of control that you need to use chemical pesticides to help protect your plants. While the chemicals help, some can seep into the soil or irritate your skin. They’re also bad for other wildlife and the wider environment.
Others simply dislike using chemicals in their garden and prefer to try to grow it organically.
While there are organic compounds, you can purchase or make at home, promoting hoverflies is a simple and natural way to keep the pest population down.
Creating a hoverfly lagoon is the best way to increase the number of hoverfly larvae you have in your garden.
This is a man-made puddle or small body of water in a bowl that is filled with twigs, grass clippings, and leaves that allow adult Hoverflies to lay their eggs in the water.
Cutting an old milk carton in half is the perfect way to reuse something and create an eco-friendly hoverfly lagoon.
Place your lagoon in a shady spot in your garden surrounded by tall grasses or wildflowers, and keep an eye out. You will see little hoverfly eggs floating on the surface within a few weeks!
Adult hoverflies are amazing pollinators. If you are growing any vegetable crop that relies on fertilization from pollinators, hoverflies will be your friend.
Tomato plants are just one example of a vegetable crop that would rely on a pollinating insect. The tomato plants will grow beautiful little flowers long before they will ever grow tomatoes.
The flowers will need to be pollinated to become seed-bearing. To pollinate, the pollen from the male part of the plant, or the stamen, must enter the female part of the plant, called the pistil.
Once at the opening of the pistil, the pollen will work its way down to the bottom and inside the seeds will form.
It is sometimes crazy to think that almost all the food we eat comes from fertilized flowers! This is why pollinators are so important.
Encouraging pollinators in your garden increases the number of flowers that will get fertilized on your vegetable plants. While you can pollinate plants using a few different methods, it makes the most sense to let nature do its thing.
Hoverflies will actually pollinate a range of plants. If the nectar in the flower is easy-to-access and is not hidden deep in the plant – because hoverflies have short tongues – then they will pollinate them.
Hoverflies only eat nectar when they are fully formed. However, when hoverflies are born and are at the larval stage, they will eat a range of pests, including aphids, thrips and scales.