Friday, September 30, 2022

HOVERFLY ON TICKSEED


I was interested in the insect on this pretty yellow flower.  At first, I thought it was a bee but as I looked closer, its markings seemed to be different, and I then thought of the hoverfly.  Later I confirmed it. They have been described as a bee/wasp lookalike.  The adults are nectar and pollen feeders, and after bees, are the most important insect pollinators. 
Other facts: you can tell the difference between bees and hoverflies.  Bees have four wings and hoverflies have only two wings.  Hoverflies also don't have a stinger.  Good to know!  Some greenhouses breed hoverflies for use in pollinating peppers, or to help plants produce seeds for seed banks.  Hoverflies also love to feed on aphids.  They are found worldwide.  There are about 6,000 of its species throughout the world, and 900 are in North America.  Hoverflies are found on every continent except Antarctica.  

The flowers I found them on are the Tall tickseed, a species of Calliopsis.  Also known as Tickseed, Tall coreopsis and Atlantic coreopsis.  Its botanical name is Coreopsis tripteris.  It blooms in the summer and is a perennial herb.  Tickseed can be a tall plant and reaches up to 7 to 9 feet.  It spreads aggressively and likes a warm and dry climate but can tolerate occasional wet weather.  It grows best between 50 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.  To attract birds you need to let the flowers go to seed as birds love them.