Arizona Naturalists >>> Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Insects, Spiders, Centepedes and Scorpions >>> Flies, Gnats & Mosquitoes >>> Soldier Fly

Black Soldier Fly

Hermetia illucens

a black fly, Hermetia illucens,  photo © by Mike Plagens

This glistening, blue-black fly was found near a too-moist compost heap in Phoenix, Maricopa Co., Arizona, May 2010.

Stratiomyidae -- Soldier Fly Family

The color, loud buzzing and shape of soldier flies suggests maybe a stinging wasp. But they are quite harmless to people and are beneficial in terms of their ability to convert waste vegetable matter, other foods and manure into compost for the garden and grubs that can be used to feed poultry or fish. Because adult soldier flies lack functional mouthparts you won't find them lapping at your picnic table at all. Their time as adult flies is spent strictly in finding mates and locating food to lay their eggs in. Within the waste matter the maggots of this fly compete with and thus reduce the numbers of maggots of house flies which are important disease vectors and pests. They are found throughout the world in temperate and tropical regions.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 17 March 2012