Why do Hoverflies look like Wasps?

by Russ on June 15, 2013

British woodlands are full of life in the summer.As we enter summer, the air around us comes alive with sights, sounds and smells. If you’re out in the countryside or a nearby wood you’ll likely hear many buzzing sounds. Bees and wasps are flitting around in the hunt for food, but there is another buzzing bug that’s also lurking in the bushes – the hoverfly!

 

Hoverflies can look like wasps or bees but their gigantic eyes can help to give them away as harmless.At first glance, this is nothing more than a wasp with its bright black and yellow patterns. This however is a disguise. The hoverfly, or drone-fly, are actually not related to bees and wasps at all. They don’t live in hives and don’t even have a sting! In many ways they are just ordinary flies which are notable for their dramatic hovering ability and their high pitched humming which they even make when sat still!

The warning colours of the hoverfly are a trick. By pretending to look like a wasp, the drone-fly fools potential predators into thinking it’s a bug not to be messed with. The bright yellow and black stripes tell the predator that this insect is dangerous, just like bees and wasps.

There are numerous hoverfly species in Britain which can be seen from May through to July at their peak both in woodlands and in our own back gardens. You can even record your sightings at the Hoverfly Recording Scheme Website.

Where do bats sleep?

Bats normally roost in natural shelters, but they do sometimes find human construction very inviting.James Harris asks I’ve been at my nans house and there’s lots of bats out there. We wondered where they sleep because there’s no caves around here.’

It’s good to hear there is a healthy population of bats in your area James!
Although bats do sleep in caves during the day they will also sleep anyway that offers shelter. They are 16 British species of bats in total and they all prefer different beds for the night. Some may use caves but many will use trees and man made buildings. Bridges over water is a brilliant place for bats to to sleep. Some will also shelter in our rooves.
Thank you for writing in James, and remember it is illegal to purposely disturb wild bats. If you need to investigate, seek the help of your local bat group for more information.

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