Corn Flies Have Invaded the Evansville Area – What You Need to Know
Corn Flies, Hover Flies, Sweat Bees, whatever you want to call them, they are everywhere in the Evansville area these days, and I think we can all agree, regardless of what they're name is, they are annoying, to put it mildly.
I first noticed the little buggers over the weekend while attending a family get together in Boonville. As we sat out back grilling burgers and hot dogs, the kids playing on a Slip and Slide, and the adults playing Corn Hole, we were constantly swatting at them, or brushing them off our legs and faces. When I looked down at the yard, you could see them hovering; hundreds, if not thousands of them flying around being irritating.
On Sunday, I played a round of golf at Christmas Lake Golf Course in Santa Claus, and the story was the same. While hitting a few balls on the practice range, you had to swat a few away before you took a swing. When we got back to our golf carts to drive to the first tee, the seats were covered in them.
So what are they exactly, and should we be concerned? Here's what you need to know —
Please State Your Name
We call them Corn Flies, however they're known to the science community as "Flower Flies", a member of the Syrphidae Family according to BugGuide.net. Like the common house fly, they begin as maggots before blossoming into the pesky adults we've seen all over the place this summer.
According to Purdue University Field Crop Entomologist Christian Krupke, in an interview with Ryan Reynolds from the Evansville Courier-Press, they thrive in warm, muggy air. What have we had a ton of this summer? Rain and humidity. Making the Tri-State a veritable Sandals Resort for our winged visitors.
A Feast Fit for a King
As their name suggests, Flower Flies feast on flower pollen and nectar, including that of corn plants, which we clearly have in abundance here in Southern Indiana (hence the nickname Corn Flies), making them an important of the pollination process according to the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. Some varieties also feed on other insects that cause damage to crops and gardens making them beneficial in that aspect as well.
Although they appear to look like some sort of bee or wasp, the Flower Fly is harmless. It has no stinger, and doesn't bite. Their appearance is actually their natural defense. By mimicking the look of their stinging brothers and sisters, the Flower Fly avoids being eaten by predators such as birds who are looking to avoid getting bitten by their potential dinner.
A search for "corn fly repellent" brought up millions of results, many of which seemed to more for flies in general, not just Corn, Flower, Hover, or whatever-you-want-to-call-them-flies. It looks like we'll be stuck with them for awhile until the weather cools off enough to kill them off.