Now that things are warming up and at last we have a few sunny days, the first of this season’s Hoverflies are appearing all over Cambridge. As more plants come into flower their numbers will rapidly increase, assisted by migrating insects from the continent as summer progresses.
Over 270 species of hoverflies have been recorded in the UK and many of them are spectacular bee and wasp mimics, although all of them are totally harmless. Their larvae are well known as the gardener’s friend for eating aphids, but in truth only around 40% of species do this. Some feed on plants, some on decaying matter, while others live in the nests of ants, wasps and bees, either scavenging or feeding on the host’s own larvae.
Hoverflies will be with us right through to the autumn, when large numbers can be found feeding on the late blooming ivy flowers.