Sphaerophoria rueppellii is a hoverfly. Hoverflies are medium-sized insects, with an eye-catching yellow-black body which makes a hoverfly resemble a wasp. They can be distinguished from wasps by their hovering flight. They do not sting.
Mature hoverflies feed on nectar and pollen, while the larvae are gluttonous predators. The larva feeds on various species of aphids, and devour as many as 200 per cycle. In addition, they can also survive on other prey such as thrips, spider mite and whitefly.
Life cycle and efficacy
The oval eggs laid by Sphaerophoria rueppellii are white to grey in colour and have a 3-day life-cycle*. The green larvae have a life-cycle of 8 to 9 days*. The drop-shaped pupae are green to brown in colour and have a life-cycle of 5 to 6 days*. An adult female lays 15 to 20 eggs per day and lives on average for 21 days*. *At an average temperature of 25 °C. Sphaerophoria rueppellii larva can devour up to 200 aphids before pupating. Sphaerophoria rueppellii is active in temperatures from 12 to 40 °C; the ideal temperature is 25 to 35 °C. Activity may decrease during the autumn due to reduced daylight. Mature hoverflies can withstand drought, while the larvae need a humid microclimate to prevent dehydration.
Hoverflies are extremely sensitive to chemical substances. For this reason, do not use any chemical pest control substances for at least six weeks prior to deploying hoverflies.
Sphaerophoria rueppellii can be used successfully in pepper and aubergine crops, and can also be used for other fruit, vegetables, ornamental plants and even for public green spaces. The plants must produce nectar and pollen as daily food for the hoverflies. Release Sphaerophoria rueppellii preferably from the bottle which should be placed horizontally in a shady dry place or between the support strings.
Release the pupae immediately on receipt (on delivery, some mature adults will fly out immediately). Store for no longer than 24 hours in a cool dark place, temperature 8 to 10 ºC.