The highland delta at Muddlety Creek always seems to offer interesting subjects to photograph. And even though I’m reluctant to actually take a camera onto the water this is one place that I might consider it if I had the right boat. But I digress. As I cautiously work my way around the edge of the swamp the slow lumbering flight pattern of a large fly catches my attention. Now a lot of my photo sessions start with my spotting “target of opportunity” and calibrating my eye by taking a few practice shots. I have a good macro lens for insects and the like but experience has taught me that in order for that to work the subject has to be comfortable with my sticking the lens in its face. Most insects flee long before you can get that close so I use the long lens and turn the session into a tiny safari. (This also helps keep your shadow out of the shot.) I snapped a few pictures and noticed that this particular fly was a tacinid. It’s not a biting fly like a horse fly or a black fly. It’s not a house fly or a blow fly. This fly is a free form of pest control and a friend of gardeners. It proved to be “Belvosia Borealis”. And it’s currently pollinating Queen Anne’s Lace which is a type of wild carrot. But that’s really just a side benefit. Tacinid flies are parsitoid flies. That is, like the Great Golden Digger Wasp in last night’s post they start life as a parasite on pest insects.
To be honest I couldn’t find a whole lot of details about which specific pests are controlled by this specific species of Tachinid. There are a lot of individual species and it’s common for each species to target a specific handful of hosts. As a group Tachinid flies help control pests like tomatoe hornworm, gypsy moth, tent caterpillar (AKA army worms) and even squash bugs and Japanese Beetles. The Tachinid flies require a living host to reproduce and it’s not really pleasant but in doing so they can help prevent millions of dollars in crop loss each year. The additional benefit is that instead of a build up of toxic chemicals in the food chain you basically have a biological robot that kills pests, pollenates certain crops and is safe for the birds and fish to consume.
This Belvosia fly has yellow stripes like a bee and if you look closely at the first two images it has blue eyes. I thought that it might just be reflecting the sky but in other online pictures this seems to be the same in all of them. As far as flies go it almost looks like a cartoon fly. Another feature of Tachinid flies is that spiked hairdo. Multiple sources make reference to it being the “Punk Rock Fly”.
In closing I’ll suggest that when you see this one don’t reach for the swatter but instead let it go and and rid your garden of the real pests.
Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.
For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.
We also have the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe that is set up as a fully functional community. There you’ll not only be able to see and connect with me but you can also make your own posts and interact with each other.
I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup
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I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply use the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.