Garden Challenge 2023: Summer Update

Hope everyone is enjoying their garden and local spaces this summer, and the hot, dry weather hasn’t been too detrimental.

Please continue to keep an eye out for woodlice (our target species for 2023) and get in touch with the Society for any ID help or queries.

For the summer months, we would like to encourage recording of mammals and hoverflies. Mammal records can be sent to Barrie Mills at Hoverfly records can be sent to David Iliff at David has provided some extra information for hoverfly ID resources and has given some descriptions for two distinctive species to
keep an eye out for:

Volucella zonaria: easily the largest British hoverfly and a hornet mimic, this is a female (the male has a black rather than a chestnut thorax). The female lays her eggs in the nests of social wasps (including hornets) and the larvae develop there. It is on the wing from June onwards.

Scaeva pyrastri: this is one of the largest of the many hoverflies with larvae that are predators of aphids. It is around from June onwards and its frequency varies from year to year. The UK population is sometimes augmented by migrants from Europe.

He has given the following comment on hoverfly recording (thanks David):

“I should be delighted to help in any way I can with your plan to target hoverflies as a group, and I would also be glad to receive queries from GNS News readers who seek help with identification.

As far as suggested resources are concerned, I would nominate two in particular. The first is Steven Falk’s excellent on-line aid which can be found by typing the following link into a search engine or merely by googling “Steven Falk hoverflies”: Collection: Syrphidae (hoverflies) (

The second is the book “Britain’s Hoverflies: A Field Guide to the Hoverflies of Great Britain and Ireland Third Edition Fully Revised and Updated (WILDGuides of Britain & Europe, 45) paperback by Stuart Ball and,Roger Morris. However, I should stress that this book is the third edition, and it is not yet published; expected publication date is December of this year. The second edition is still purchasable, but I would advise people to wait for the new edition which is considerably updated. It can be pre-ordered (my copy is on order) and costs about £22.”

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