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Hoverfly Larvae - Episyrphus balteatus

What Are Aphids & How Do I Identify Them?

Aphid is a name for a large group of insects, many of which can cause serious damage to plants. They extract sap from plants causing a reduction in plant growth, reduced yields, and sometimes defoliation. Aphids can also secrete toxic substances into the plants. The Aphids take proteins from the sap and then excrete the excess sugar left in the sap back onto plants. This causes a sticky mess on the leaves, which black molds often grow on.

Aphids are soft bodied and often shed white skins onto leaves. Adult Aphids can be green, yellow, pink, black, grey or brown.

What Are Episyrphus Balteatus Hoverfly Larvae & How Can They Help?

Hoverfly larvae (Episyrphus balteatus)are a very effective predator of Aphids (also known as Greenfly & Blackfly), feeding on all species of Aphids. Adult Hoverflies will emerge from the pupae they are supplied in and lay eggs in Aphid colonies. These eggs develop into Hoverfly larvae that will entirely consume Aphids, leaving only their skin behind. During its development, each larvae can consume around 1000 Aphids

Hoverfly larvae are also rather intelligent insects, as they can detect when aphids have been parasitised and as such will avoid eating those ones. This also means that Hoverfly larvae can be used in conjunction with our Aphid parasitic wasps; Aphidius colemani, Aphidius ervi and our Aphiscout Parasitic Wasp Mix. Adult hoverflies are also pollinators so this insect is a very beneficial one to use and apply.

What Do They Look Like?

Hoverfly eggs are oval, whitish-grey in colour and up to 1mm long, so not easy to spot. The larvae are up to 11mm long, a transparent beige type colour with no legs. The larvae develop into beige brown coloured pupae. The pupae hatch into adult Hoverfly that are 10-13mm long with a dark yellow face and a golden abdomen with black stripes.

What Conditions Do The Hoverfly Larvae Require?

Hoverfly larvae are quite temperature tolerant. They ae active from 5-30℃ but most effective between temperatures of 15-23℃.

When Should I Apply The Hoverfly Larvae?

The Episyrphus balteatus have quite a long life cycle so it is best to apply them as soon as you identify any Aphids, in order to give them time to develop and predate the pests before infestations become severe.

How Do I Apply The Hoverfly Larvae?

Carefully open the perforated lid on the cardboard box and hang the box vertically from infested plants. The pupae will then proceed to hatch and emerge from the box. Avoid placing the box in direct sunlight. 

Where Should I Apply The Hoverfly Larvae?

Hoverfly larvae can be used both indoors, in greenhouses, glasshouses and polytunnels, and outdoors on plants; wherever Aphids are present. Adult Hoverflies feed on pollen and nectar, so their activity is improved when flower resources are available.

How Many Hoverfly Larvae Do I Need?

The Hoverfly larvae are supplied in a small hanger box of 50 pupae.

Repeat applications may be required for heavy infestations of Aphids, or if treating Aphids over a season. Larger infestations may also require the introduction of additional Aphid parasites.

Chemical Pesticides

Hoverfly larvae are living creatures that can be affected by any chemical pesticides used within the previous few weeks. As a general guide, refrain from using Natural Pyrethrum or SB Plant Invigorator 2 days prior to use. Other chemical insecticides can have long lasting residues that could harm the larvaeand other beneficial insects for much longer periods. Refrain from using these products or check with Dragonfli for information on the effect of these products on our predators.

*This product has a lead time. This can at times be up to 2 weeks. Please feel free to contact us prior to ordering for further advice on likely dispatch times if required*

Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review
Monique Gudgeon
Less larvae more hover fly!

When I ordered the first batch they arrived as a mixture of pupae and damaged adults. The release box had been sent in a padded envelope and had obviously got squashed at some point. The replacement arrived, this time in an outer box so undamaged, but there were no larvae, just pupae and adults. Not sure how this should work but there is obviously a delay along the way which means the larvae are already in the process of changing.