Wednesday, July 14, 2010
This large fly is called a Tachinid Fly in the genus Archytas and family Tachinidae. These are large, hairy flies that typically nectar at flowers. Right now my peppermint is in full bloom and it is covered in these enormous flies. There are easily 50 or more nectaring at a time.
These flies start their life out as parasitoids of other insects such as moth caterpillars. The unfortunate host will not survive such an onslaught by the vigorous eating habits of the maggot of these large flies.
These flies do not spread disease to humans, or contaminate food, or eat poo for that matter. Overall these flies have very good manners. Some of them reach enormous sizes...I have a few that are almost 3/4 of an inch in length, maybe larger. They are very thick bodied and covered in bristly hairs.
Males will have eyes that nearly touch, females will have eyes with a noticeable space between them.
I would assume these flies could be considered pollinators from their habit of nectaring at various flowers and spreading the pollen as they do so.
Look for them right now in your gardens among the flowers. They become quite plentiful during the hottest days in the summer.