Eristalis tenax

The ‘Drone Fly’ is a large hoverfly that mimics honey bees.

The Drone Fly is a common and widespread hoverfly, being found on all continents with the exception of Antarctica.

It can be readily identified by the unique combination of three features (Ball & Morris, 2015). The eyes have vertical stripes of dark hairs, there is a broad, dark facial stripe, and the hind tibia is curved and thickened.

Males are highly territorial and will defend a territory throughout their lives, chasing off rivals and other insects.

The Drone Fly is a pollen eater and, along with other hoverflies, is an important pollinator. In the UK it is active between March and December, with numbers and activity peaking in high and late summer.

The Drone Fly has been subject to extensive research into it’s biology and ecology. For example a recent paper in the Journal of Experimental Biology has shown that they have a preference for yellow flowers with a UV bull’s-eye pattern.