[Syrphidae] Eristalis larvae

Jamie Gundry jg363 at cam.ac.uk
Thu Aug 27 12:02:08 BST 2009

Dear Matthew

We found many Eristalis larvae in a plastic crate that had been 
accidentally left out in the rain in our garden a few weeks ago. However, 
that is in Cambridge (in England, not Cambridge in the US), not in the 
North West of England.

Try catching females of Eristalis tenax and/or Eristalis pertinax and keep 
them in ventilated boaxes with a tiny bit of water in the corner of the 
box: enough to keep the flies hydrated but not enough to drown them (for 
they are very stupid!) They will live longer at +8 to +10 celsius and feed 
them on honey dissolved in water. I found that gravid Eristalis pertinax 
females will often lay many eggs into the drops of water in their tanks, 
which you can carefully collect with a paintbrush and transfer to very 
shallow water, increasing the depth of the water as the maggots grow and 
their breathing tubes extend.

Into the water put dried grass (from a compost heap works fine) and small 
amounts of minced beef which will go rancid and provide a great food 
supply. For obvious reasons this rearing should be done as far away from 
where you work day-to-day as possible: the smell in mid-summer is quite 

If you are to breed from the adults that emerge from this rearing then they 
need to be fed specific proteins as larvae, I seem to remember, which I 
never did.

Hope that helps,


On Aug 27 2009, Matthew SULLIVAN wrote:

> Hi, At the risk of asking a silly question, what are my chances of 
> finding any Eristalis larvae at this time of year in NW England? I'm 
> hoping to start a culture but time has got on a bit with the 
> arrangements.
>Many thanks,
>Dr Matthew Sullivan DPhil.
>Behavioural and Environmental Biology
>School of Biology, Chemistry and Health Science
>Manchester Metropolitan University
>Manchester M1 5GD, UK
>Tel +44 (0)161 247 1164
>Fax +44 (0)161 247 6325
>m.sullivan at mmu.ac.uk
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