The time of the hoverflies

On the still hot days of late June and early July, the hoverflies cover the flowerbeds, hanging from invisible threads before settling on flower landing pads to feed. This seems to be their time in the garden, just as the bee fly seemed to dominate the scene back in April.

A female Episyrphus balteatus Marmalade Hoverfly

These were Marmalade Hoverflies (flower flies in the US), common across the palearctic of Europe, Asia and Northern Africa. Though it mimics solitary wasps it is harmless, one of very few species that crush flower pollen to feed.
Sexing a hover fly is straight forward. Males have ‘larger’ holoptic eyes, meaning that they meet along the dorsal length of their head. Females don’t, as can be seen clearly in the top photo.

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