Drone-fly

Eristalis tenax

About

The Drone-fly is a very common, medium-sized hoverfly, which is an excellent Honeybee mimic. It is one of several species of related hoverfly whose larvae are known as 'rat-tailed maggots' and live in muddy water, feeding on decaying organic matter. Adults feed on nectar in various habitats and can be seen throughout the year, emerging from hibernation to feed on Ivy flowers on milder winter days.

How to identify

The Drone-fly is one of several related hoverflies that are Honeybee mimics. With a dark-brown body, orange patches on the sides and top, and a covering of orangey hair, it does a good job of looking like a Honeybee. Key differences include the lack of a stinger, larger antennae, no 'waist', only one pair of wings and larger eyes.

Where to find it

Widespread.

Habitats

When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Many of our commonly overlooked insects are important pollinators for all kinds of plants, including those which we rely on like fruit trees. The Wildlife Trusts recognise the importance of healthy habitats to support all kinds of species throughout the food chain, so look after many nature reserves for the benefit of wildlife. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from coppicing to craft-making, to stockwatching to surveying.

Species information

Common name
Drone-fly
Latin name
Eristalis tenax
Category
Invertebrates
Flies
Statistics
Length: 1-1.2cm
Conservation status
Common.