Aphids have a large number of predators due to their sweet taste. But are flies one of them?
The Quick Answer
Do Flies Eat Aphids?
Flies do eat aphids. There are a few species of flies which are more likely to consume aphids which include aphid midges, lacewings and hoverflies. There are also species which do not eat aphids such as the common housefly.
Which Flies Eat Aphids?
There are over 7,000 species of fly in the UK alone, and whilst not all of them eat aphids, some definitely do. Their dietary differences are a cause of evolution and below are some fly species which have evolved to consume these sweet-tasting pests.
Despite what the name suggests, these midges are not aphids. They are flies and they get their name because they eat over 60 different species of aphids. One of their favourite aphids seems to be the pesky Green Peach Aphids which can affect a large variety of plants in your garden.
Both adult and larval lacewings consume aphids, making them beneficial throughout their whole life cycle. These flies look very similar to aphids so be careful that you don’t accidentally remove the predators rather than the aphids themselves.
It is primarily hoverfly larvae that consume aphids, but this still makes them very beneficial in your garden. The larvae have a curved jaw which allows them to quickly grab and consume the aphids.
There are many more species of flies that eat aphids, but these ones are the most well-known and arguably the most beneficial to find in your garden.
Do House Flies Eat Aphids?
There are no two ways about it, house flies are irritating. But maybe that irritation could be lessened if they did something helpful such as eat aphids.
Sadly, this is not the case. Adult house flies do not consume insects but, similarly to aphids, they consume plant matter. This plant matter is primarily decaying matter or even sugar or nectar. They don’t actually have chewing mouthparts which means that it would likely be impossible for them to consume aphids even if they wanted to.
Do Aphids Attract House Flies?
As well as the damage caused to your garden, aphids also have the unfortunate trait of attracting house flies.
The reason for this is because aphids produce a favourite food for house flies, honeydew. Whilst house flies like to feed on sugar and nectar from plants, the honeydew produced by aphids is even sweeter, making the presence of aphids very exciting for house flies.
This honeydew substance is sticky and sweet and is the product of the large amounts of sap consumed by the aphids.
Using Flies as an Aphid Deterrent
You can use flies to try to decrease the aphid population in your garden. There are some biological control suppliers that will provide you with larvae, such as hoverfly larvae, which can be released in your garden to help decrease the number of aphids.
This helps to keep your garden having a healthy ecosystem and it does not do any harm to your plants or other insects like insecticides and pesticides might do.
What Other Species eat Aphids?
As well as flies, there are many other insect species that prey on aphids. One of the biggest families of aphid predators appears to be beetles, with some particular species consuming more than others. Below are some other common predators of aphids:
Ladybugs or lady beetles are a primary aphid predator. They consume large numbers of aphids in a very short time and do not become garden pests. As opportunistic hunters, they will consume other insects and may help with other pest problems in your garden.
Certain species of wasps do consume aphids. However, they can also eat a lot of beneficial insects in your garden and can cause humans harm if they go too close to their nests.
As well as those annoying aphids, spiders will eat the house flies that have been attracted to your garden by the aphids. You cannot procure spiders from biological control, but it is a good idea to move them to an affected plant.
In conclusion, there are many different fly species that eat aphids. House flies do not eat aphids, but they do eat the honeydew aphids secrete. You can procure certain flies and fly larvae from biological control suppliers to help reduce the aphid population in your garden.