Hoverfly Control: How To Get Rid of Hoverflies?

Most people don’t consider hoverflies to be pests. However, having too many of them can be annoying, especially if they’ve invaded your living spaces. Luckily, controlling them is simple once you know how to repel and kill them. 

How to get rid of hoverflies? To get rid of hoverflies, remove small, fragrant flowers from your garden, burn incense with mint, citronella, or lemon, and add a few drops of essential oils near your windows. Lastly, use diatomaceous earth to get rid of hoverflies’ food, such as aphids, which should encourage them to move on.

Exterminators

This article will cover everything from identifying hoverflies to what attracts them in your home. We’ll also cover the various ways of getting rid of them, and offer some options for products that are known to work well with these flower flies. 

Hoverfly Identification

Many people have seen hoverflies, but most people don’t recognize them since they’re experts at mimicking stinging insects such as bees, yellow jackets, and wasps. 

Hoverflies are black with yellow stripes, have two long wings, and large wraparound eyes. 


What Is a Hoverfly?

What Is a Hoverfly

Hoverflies, also known as flower or syrphid flies, are flies that can hover and fly backward, a rarity among flies. 

Adult hoverflies eat pollen and nectar, while hoverfly larvae eat small insects like aphids. 


What Does a Hoverfly Look Like?

There are many different species of hoverflies, each with various markings and sizes. Still, adult hoverflies are usually 6 to 7mm long (2/10 of an inch).

They have several horizontal yellow stripes on their thorax and vertical stripes on their abdomen. Since they have yellow and black markings, they are often confused with bees or wasps, but they are notably harmless and have no stinger. 

They also only have two large wings, which further differentiates them from bees and wasps. These wings have a unique spurious vein, a dimple in the center of their wings that does not connect to any other vein. 

Some hoverflies have round, shiny abdomens, but others can have narrow or hairy ones that make them more distinct. They all have short antennae, and their eyes are large and black or reddish-colored. 


How Long Does a Hoverfly Live?

Most species of hoverflies will live no longer than two weeks, and most adults will die within 12 days of emerging from their chrysalis. 


Where Do Hoverflies Live?

Where Do Hoverflies Live

Hoverflies most commonly live in dense foliage near flowers, especially around aphid-infested plants. That makes gardens and fields of wildflowers some of the best living areas for hoverflies.


Do Hoverflies Build Nests?

Many types of hoverflies build nests in trees. However, some hoverflies lay their eggs in bee, termite, ant, or hornet nests. That’s because they are experts at mimicking scarier stinging insects. 

Still, once the eggs hatch, they often eat other insects that invade the nest, protecting bees and other bugs from predators. 

Other types of hoverflies lay their eggs in septic water. There, the larvae feed on microorganisms and other insects that pollute the water. 


Types Of Hoverfly

There are over 900 different types of hoverflies in North America. Each species looks more like another insect. 

Hoverflies often look like sweat bees, yellow jackets, honey bees, wasps, and other stinging insects, but they are all completely harmless. 

Some of the most common types of hoverflies in the USA are: 

  • Drone flies 
  • Eastern hornet flies 
  • Calligrapher flies
  • Globetalis

There are many more types of hoverflies, but they are all black and yellow, have no stinger, and pollinate flowers. 


Do Hoverflies Bite?

Do Hoverflies Bite

Hoverflies do not bite, sting, or harm people, which often leaves them defenseless in the face of predators. Because of this lack of protective ability, they have evolved to look like stinging insects since predators such as spiders are unlikely to try to attack a wasp or bee. 


Why Are There So Many Hoverflies?

Hoverflies can be beneficial for plants, but having too many in your yard can be annoying and overwhelming. 

In most cases, there are so many hoverflies around when you have a large flower garden, have an aphid infestation, or if the weather has been warmer than usual. 

If you want to stop attracting hoverflies to your outdoor spaces, you may need to remove certain flowers and pests from your garden. 


What Attracts Hoverflies?

What Attracts Hoverflies

Hoverflies are pollinators, so they often gather near bright, fragrant flowers. The larvae eat small insects, like aphids, and the larvae of other flies. 

Because they can help you manage some other pests and pollinate flowers, many people find them beneficial in gardens.

Still, if you have many aphids, hoverflies may lay eggs near your plants, resulting in an infestation. 

According to Susan Mahr from the University of Wisconsin, some of the hoverflies’ favorite foods include small-flowered herbs such as: 

  • Queen Anne’s Lace
  • Carrots
  • Mustard
  • Coriander
  • Dill
  • Thyme 

Hoverflies are also sensitive to cold temperatures. If the weather is warm for a longer time than usual, the hoverflies may have had more time to reproduce, resulting in a huge population boom. 


How Do I Get Rid of Hoverflies? Step by Step Instructions

Getting rid of hoverflies is just like getting rid of other types of flies. 

To repel and eliminate hoverflies: 

1. Remove small, fragrant, or brightly-colored flowers from the hoverfly-infested area. 

2. Use a fan to blow away the hoverflies. 

3. Burn incense with mint, citronella, orange, lemon, or other fragrant herbs to repel flies. 

4. Place a few drops of aromatic essential oils on curtains, windowsills, and tablecloths.

5. Set up traps like flypaper to keep hoverflies from coming back. 

Black Flag HG-11016 Fly Paper, 4-Count
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  • Also controls gypsy moth caterpillars: Wrap trunks of trees to...
  • Contains: 4 traps

6. Use diatomaceous earth and other insecticides in your outdoor areas to kill aphids and other small insects that hoverfly larvae eat. 

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Getting Rid of Hoverflies in Some Specific Places

Depending on where your hoverflies are, you will need to use different methods to repel or kill them. 

So, let’s go over how to get rid of hoverflies in the most common places they breed, including conservatories, your garden, and your patio area. 


How To Get Rid of Hoverflies in Conservatory?

How To Get Rid of Hoverflies in Conservatory

Even if hoverflies can be beneficial for your outdoor spaces, it is never fun to have insects buzzing around in your conservatory when you’re trying to enjoy a book and a cup of tea. 

If there are hoverflies in your conservatory, you may want to use a fan, essential oils, or incense to repel them. You can also use fly traps to kill them.

Hoverflies are attracted to warm spaces with plants nearby, so you might want to start by putting any flowers you keep in your conservatory outside if you wish to prevent hoverflies from breeding in your living area.

You may also want to coat some strips of paper in essential oils such as mint, citronella, or basil and leave them near entryways where hoverflies may sneak in. Burning incense will also repel many types of bugs, including hoverflies.

If the hoverflies keep coming back, you may need to invest in a trap such as flypapers or a bug zapper to keep them out of your conservatory. 


How To Get Rid of Hoverflies in the Garden?

If there are hoverflies in your garden, you shouldn’t be worried. Hoverflies only lay eggs where there are other pests like aphids, ants, termites, and wasps

Treating your garden with a safe, all-purpose insect repellent should eliminate the hoverflies and other insects in your garden. 

Sprinkling insecticides like diatomaceous earth or baking soda on the ground around your plants or in areas where the hoverflies seem to gather will kill some of the larvae, reducing the hoverfly population significantly. 

You can also use repellents such as essential oils, incense, and bonfires to scare off hoverflies. A fly spray made with vinegar, essential oils, water, and a touch of dish soap will also repel many insects, including hoverflies. 

If the infestation is particularly bad, you may want to use sugar-baited traps to kill some of the hoverflies. Generally, you should only kill the hoverflies in your garden if there are far too many of them since they can kill other pests and keep the plants in your garden healthy. 


How To Get Rid of Hoverflies in the House?

No one wants uninvited insects in their home, especially flies. To get rid of hoverflies in the house, set traps and move flowers away from open windows and doors.

Using traps to control the fly population in your house is the most efficient and reliable way to eliminate unwanted pests. Also, if you want to keep hoverflies from coming back into your indoor spaces, keep flowers away from windows since they are attracted to their scent and bright colors. 


How To Get Rid of Hoverflies on Patio?

How To Get Rid of Hoverflies on Patio

If hoverflies are on your patio, it may be challenging to keep bugs away. Still, there are some methods you can use to repel hoverflies that will keep them off your porch. 

To get rid of hoverflies on your patio, try using one or more of the following: 

  • Fans
  • Oil torches
  • Incense
  • Bug spray
  • Fly traps

If your patio has ceiling fans equipped, turn them on at full speed. If not, you can use an electric or battery-powered fan to blow away hoverflies from sitting areas. 

When you are on your patio, burn oil torches with citronella oil or use fragrant, herbal incense to repel hoverflies. 

You may also want to treat your patio with vinegar and mint bug spray, which will keep away wasps, mosquitoes, hoverflies, and many other insects. Flytraps will kill your hoverflies and keep them from breeding near your patio.


How To Get Rid of Hoverfly Nests?

Some hoverflies build their own nests while others take over abandoned wasp nests or lay their eggs in beehives, termite hills, or anthills. 

If you believe that your hoverflies are laying eggs in an active beehive or wasp nest, you might want to call in a professional. 

Exterminators

To get rid of hoverfly nests, you can use an insecticide spray or fly repellent to make the nest inhospitable to insects. To kill the nest, you can use a pyrethrin-based insecticidal spray.

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Still, it would be best if you remembered to be cautious since wasps may be hiding in your hoverfly nest as well. 

If you want to repel hoverflies from their nests, use vinegar and essential oil bug spray to force them to find a new nest. You may also want to spray fences, woodpiles, and stone walls since hoverflies often hide in the crevices of these structures. 


Natural Way To Get Rid of Hoverflies

When it comes to controlling insects, going the natural way can offer many benefits. Eco-friendly, all-natural bug sprays are excellent for warding off hoverflies since they don’t repel or kill other pollinators like bees. 

Use fragrant essential oils and vinegar in homemade bug spray to repel hoverflies as a natural option. 

Some essential oils that work against hoverflies are: 

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To make bug spray, combine the following in a spray bottle:

  • 2 tablespoons of dawn dish soap
  • 10 drops of fragrant essential oil 
  • 1 cup of water

Mix the spray and spray it on nests, directly on flies, or around the perimeter of your bug-infested areas to repel hoverflies. 


Best Products To Get Rid of Hoverflies

If you want to get rid of your hoverflies for good, you may need to invest in a reliable repellent or flytrap. Some of the best products to get rid of hoverflies are spray repellents, but electric zappers are also effective.

Let’s take a look at some well-reviewed products from Amazon.


Best Hoverfly Repellents

When it comes to repelling hoverflies, you can use almost any fly repellent. Some effective options include:

Ranger Ready Permethrin 0.5% Clothing-Worn Repellent, Scent Zero, 24 Fl Oz. (Pack of 2)
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The permethrin in this insect repellent makes it a long-lasting repellent for spraying curtains, tablecloths, patios, doors, and much more. You can use it on clothes, too, to keep many kinds of flies and bugs off of you. It’s also safe for use on your pets. 

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For a short-term hoverfly repellent, these incense sticks are highly effective. They smell great and repel all kinds of flies and many other insects, making them the perfect repellent to keep on a patio. 


Best Hoverfly Traps

Repelling hoverflies can only help so much, and if you have a real hoverfly problem, you will want to use a trap to kill them. 

These traps will work for many more kinds of insects than hoverflies, though, which is why they come highly recommended for year-round, all-purpose use: 


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This zapper is safe to use indoors and outdoors, making it perfect for any bug problem. The holes that let the hoverflies in are big enough to kill wasps and other large flying bugs, so this zapper does it all. 

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These sugar-baited fly traps are irresistible to many types of flies, including hoverflies. They are huge, so they can last for a very long time, and they are super quick at killing mosquitoes and house flies, too.

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If you want to kill flies quickly, you can never go wrong with these classic fly ribbons. They are perfect for indoor and outdoor use and can be left hanging in your window without worrying about batteries or harsh chemicals near children or pets.


Summary 

Hoverflies are harmless, and they are beneficial for gardens since they kill other pests that ravage gardens. 

Still, if you find your home or garden seemingly infested, they are pretty easy to kill and repel if you use the best methods such as essential oils, fans, and reliable fly traps.


List of Sources

Weems, H. V. (2000). A hover fly. University of Florida.

‌Mahr, S. Hover, Flower or Syrphid Flies (Syrphidae). Wisconsin Horticulture Division of Extension, University of Wisconsin.

Newton, B. (2004). Flower Flies. University of Kentucky Entomology.

Kautz, A., Gardiner, M. M. (2016). Ohio’s Natural Enemies: Hover Flies. Ohio State University Extension.