22 Different Types of Flies in Delaware

Different Types of Flies in Delaware
Photo by Jari Hytönen

If you live in this state or are planning a visit, you may be interested to learn about the different types of flies in Delaware that you might encounter.

Delaware is home to various fly species, some of which are native to the area, while others may have traveled here from other parts of the country.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the various types of flies in Delaware that you can find and how to identify them.

Keep reading to learn more about the various types of flies that you may come across in Delaware.

1. Bee Fly

The Bee Fly is the first on our list of different types of flies in Delaware. It is medium-sized and typically black, although it can also be brown, gray, or yellowish.

They have a proboscis used to sip nectar from flowers and feed on other food sources. They benefit the environment because they are pollinators of many different plants.

They may also be seen hovering around rubbish bins or other food sources. They reproduce quickly and can become a nuisance if left unchecked. 

Bee Flies have a variety of enemies, including birds, spiders, and wasps. Although they can be considered pests in some cases, their positive effects on the environment outweigh the negatives.

They can help increase crop yields and reduce the use of chemical pesticides in agricultural areas. 

As well as this, they help with the overall health of ecosystems by providing important nutrients for other insects and animals.

Bee Fly populations should be monitored to ensure they don’t become too numerous and cause problems.

2. Black Horse Fly

The Black Horse Fly (Tabanus atratus) is one of the most commonly seen types of flies in Delaware.

These large flies are typically black or dark brown in color and can grow up to one inch in length. They are attracted to bright colors, sweet scents, and even animals such as horses. 

Black Horse Flies can bite, but they rarely do so unless provoked. They typically live near bodies of water, preferring marshy areas.

In Delaware, they are commonly found around rivers, streams, and lakes. Black Horse Flies are an important food source for many animals, indicating a healthy ecosystem.

3. Black Onion Fly

The Black Onion Fly is a species of fly found throughout the state of Delaware. It is a small, dark brown fly with a distinctive bright yellow patch near the tip of its abdomen.

The Black Onion Fly is a scavenger that feeds on dead or decaying animal matter and decaying fruit, and other organic material.

It is third on our list of several types of flies in Delaware that are often seen in gardens and farms, and it is a common sight during the summer months.

The Black Onion Fly can also be found in agricultural fields, where it feeds on the discarded remains of crops.

The Black Onion Fly plays an important role in the environment. It helps break down dead and decaying matter, thus speeding up the process of decomposition. 

It also provides food for small animals and birds and is an important source of food for fish and other aquatic creatures.

The Black Onion Fly is an essential part of the local ecosystem in Delaware, and it is important to protect and preserve its natural habitats.

4. Black Firefly

The black firefly is one of the interesting types of flies in Delaware. It is a small black beetle with yellow-greenish luminescent patches on its body and wings.

This beetle can be seen in the summertime flitting around in grassy meadows and woodlands. The black firefly is often confused with its close relatives, the fireflies of the genus Photinus.

These beetles have short life cycles, with adults emerging in late May to early June and laying eggs near the base of trees or shrubs. 

The eggs hatch after about two weeks, and the larvae feed on vegetation and decaying matter.

After the larvae pupate, they become adult beetles within two weeks. They mate and lay eggs shortly after that, completing their life cycle by mid-July.

5. Big Dipper Firefly

The Big Dipper Firefly is a large, bright orange and yellow firefly that is commonly seen in Delaware.

They have a wingspan of about 2-3 inches and fly near the ground, especially near grassy areas.

The larvae of these fireflies are known to feed on small insects and are an important part of the Delaware food chain. 

The adults are known to gather in large numbers during mating season, which usually occurs from June to August in Delaware. They light up the night sky with their flickering lights during this time.

The Big Dipper Firefly has been found in all areas of Delaware, including residential areas and backyards.

However, they are types of flies in Delaware that are most commonly seen near wet or marshy areas, such as lakes or wetlands.

Although not considered a pest, they can be disruptive when their mating season draws close. 

They can be a nuisance when their lights shine into windows at night or when their buzzing noises keep people awake.

Nonetheless, they are an important part of Delaware’s natural ecosystem and should be respected as such.

6. Bee-Like Robber Fly

The Bee-like Robber Fly, also known as Laphria spp., is a species of fly found in Delaware.

These flies usually hover around flowers and other areas with nectar sources. They have dark bodies with bright yellow markings on their wings and heads. 

These flies typically feed on small insects like aphids and spiders and can be seen hunting for prey during the warmer months of the year.

Though they may look intimidating, they pose no threat to humans and are beneficial to the environment by helping to control pest populations. They aren’t left out of this list of the different types of flies in Delaware!

7. Yellowjacket Fly

The Yellowjacket Fly (Spilomyia longicornis) is a type of fly commonly seen in Delaware during the summer months. It can be identified by its bright yellow stripes running along its body and its short, pointed wings.

It is often seen hovering around flowers or flitting around in open fields. It is a fast-moving fly that is not easily caught.

The Yellowjacket Fly is a predatory insect that feeds on other insects, such as aphids, caterpillars, and mosquitoes. They also feed on nectar from flowers, making them important pollinators for plants. 

Though they may look intimidating due to their size and speed, these flies are mostly harmless to humans and animals.

They are an important part of the Delaware ecosystem, helping to keep the insect population in check.

8. American Bluet Damselfly

The American Bluet Damselfly (Enallagma spp.) is a species of small, slender flies found in the state of Delaware.

These beautiful damselflies are typically about one inch long and come in various colors. Their bodies are usually pale blue, with white or yellowish spots. 

These insects prefer wet areas, such as ponds, streams, and marshes. The American Bluet Damselfly usually lays its eggs on vegetation near the water’s surface.

These damselflies feed on small insects, such as midges, mayflies, and other small aquatic invertebrates. They can be seen flying around the wetlands of Delaware during the summer months.

If you happen to spot one of these graceful creatures on our list of different types of flies in Delaware, be sure to take a few moments to appreciate them before they fly off!

9. African Fig Fly

On this list of the different types of flies in Delaware is the African Fig Fly, an attractive small fly found in the US, including Delaware.

The adult flies have black and yellow stripes, with a yellowish head. These flies are often mistaken for bees, wasps, or yellow jackets and tend to hover near ripening fruit. 

The females lay eggs in figs, which then hatch into larvae that feed on the fruit. This fly species are found mostly near fig trees but can also be spotted in other areas of Delaware.

These flies can cause damage to fruit trees by feeding on the fruit, but they are not usually considered a major pest problem. 

Additionally, some species of African Fig Flies are important pollinators for certain types of plants.

These flies are also important in forensic entomology, as they can help to determine the time of death in criminal cases.

African Fig Flies are interesting and beneficial creatures, and you may spot them in Delaware.

10. American Lady Butterfly

The American Lady Butterfly (Vanessa virginiensis) is a species of butterfly commonly seen in Delaware.

This butterfly typically has an orange, white and black color pattern, with a wingspan of around 2-3 inches. 

The American Lady prefers to feed on nectar and can often be found in gardens and meadows. They are attracted to various flowers but especially favor sunflowers and daisies.

As a result, they are important pollinators of these plants and other surrounding species. 

The American Lady Butterfly is active during the day and can be spotted fluttering through fields and gardens from late spring through summer.

They are types of flies in Delaware that are considered to be beneficial to their environment. They also serve as a reminder of the diversity of life that can be found in this state.

11. Aphrodite Fritillary Butterfly

The Aphrodite Fritillary butterfly (Speyeria aphrodite) is a species of butterfly that is found in Delaware.

This species can be found throughout the state in areas of open grasslands, fields, and gardens. It is one of the largest fritillary butterflies in North America, with a wingspan ranging from 3 to 4 inches.

The Aphrodite Fritillary has orange-brown wings with dark markings that form a band on the outer margin of the hindwing.

The underwing has a bright yellow patch that may have a pinkish hue. The male butterfly also has a black tip on its forewing.

The adults fly from late May through August, and the larvae feed on violets and other plant species. They overwinter as pupae in the ground and emerge in the spring to continue the life cycle.

Equally important to note, they are not excluded from this list of the various types of flies in Delaware.

The Aphrodite Fritillary is an important pollinator in Delaware and can be seen flitting around meadows, fields, and gardens.

They are also an important food source for birds, bats, and other insectivorous animals.

By providing habitat for this species, you can help maintain healthy populations and benefit both humans and wildlife in the state.

12. Band-Winged Crane Fly

The Band-winged Crane Fly is one of the most common types of flies in Delaware. This fly belongs to the Tipulidae family and is known for its characteristic banded wings and long legs.

This species of fly is usually active from April to October, making it one of the longer-lasting flies in Delaware. 

They can be found in marshy areas, ponds, and streams, which is where they lay their eggs. They feed on small insects such as mosquitoes and can also be beneficial for controlling some insect pests in gardens.

Unlike some types of flies in Delaware, they are harmless fly species and are not considered a nuisance.

13. Black-Horned Gem Fly

The Black-horned Gem Fly is a small and shiny fly found in Delaware. It is typically dark brown to black in color, with glossy thorax and yellow spots on its wings.

Its two pairs of wings are usually held tightly against its body, giving it a sleek appearance. 

These flies can be found in sunny areas, near roadsides and fields, or near bodies of water, such as streams and ponds.

They are attracted to bright colors and are considered beneficial predators, helping to control other pests like mosquitoes. We have more types of flies in Delaware to discuss. Keep reading!

14. Common Drone Fly

The drone fly, a widespread fly on the continent, is an excellent bee impersonator. The stingless male bees are known as drones, and they are distinguished from ordinary bees by having large eyes and an unusual banding pattern on their abdomen. 

In those aspects, the Drone Fly, one of the types of flies in Delaware, is similar to the Bee Drone.

Although adults can frequently be seen consuming nectar from flowers, larvae prefer aquatic habitats, especially foul-smelling, stagnant water.

While the rest of the larva remains below the surface of the water, the maggot grows a breathing tube from its back and uses it to breathe. 

Moreso, they belong to the hoverfly species known as Rat-tailed Maggots. It can consume decaying stuff in the water thanks to this tube.

Adults may be found close to enduring puddles, ditches, or other wet areas that could act as a nursery.

15. Common Stonefly

Still on this list of the types of flies in Delaware is the Perlidae family, which includes the Common Stonefly.

The presence of Stoneflies indicates clear streams and water, together with Caddisflies and Mayflies. Juveniles and adults have varied appearances. 

Dark brown or olive brown are the colors of adult Common Stoneflies. With dark veins all over, the wings cross each other over the body.

The lower portion of the head and the antennal bases are both yellow. There are two more yellow spots between the “neck” and the “wings” (one near each shoulder).

Two tails that are typically hidden by the wings from above are seen on the body beneath the wings. Naiads are the offspring, and they resemble tiny crustaceans more than insects. 

Females sometimes pass away on the water after laying their eggs on or just above the water’s surface. The newly hatched naiads live their entire lives underwater, developing and feeding.

When they are ready to grow and develop wings, they fly to land and shed their exoskeletons to become winged adults. 

Anglers frequently keep an eye on the existence and life stage of a local population of stoneflies to better time their fishing excursions because trout consume the naiad stage of stoneflies.

The place where many naiads exit the water might be a well-liked feeding location for trout, who eat the sluggish swimming naiads.

16. Coral Hairstreak Butterfly

An essential characteristic for recognizing this butterfly is a continuous row of coral-colored dots on the underside of the hindwings.

Coral is present there for other Hairstreak species, but not for this one. Spots are large, distinct, and vivid. 

This side of the wings likewise has little black flecks, but the wings are otherwise unmarked.

Except for a sliver of orange peeking through from the spots below, even the top sides are plain. Antennas are banded in black and white.

Adults are frequently observed with their wings up, which is helpful for people seeking to identify them.

The chokecherry, wild cherry, and wild plum trees provide food for the caterpillar. Adults consume nectar from various flowers, like dogbane and butterfly weed.

17. Blue Blow Fly

The Blue Blow Fly is a species of fly found in the United States, primarily throughout Delaware. This fly species is characterized by its dark blue-black color and reddish eyes.

The Blue Blow Fly is most commonly found near decaying organic material, such as carrion, animal dung, and garbage. 

In fact, this species has adapted to urban environments quite well, as it can feed off of the garbage found in such areas.

The Blue Blow Fly plays an important role in the environment, acting as a decomposer that breaks down dead organic material.

This fly species also serves as a food source for many other animals, such as spiders, birds, and small mammals. 

The Blue Blow Fly may even act as a pollinator, though it is not known to be effective in this capacity.

With its diverse roles in the environment, the Blue Blow Fly, one of the several types of flies in Delaware, is an important species to be aware of.

18. Cabbage White Butterfly

The Cabbage White Butterfly (Pieris rapae) is a type of fly that can be found in Delaware.

It is one of the world’s most common and widespread butterflies and is easily recognized by its white wings with black tips.

It is also sometimes referred to as the “cabbage-eating butterfly” due to its habit of laying eggs on cabbage plants, where they feed on the plant’s leaves. 

This species can be found in fields, gardens, meadows, and other open spaces throughout the state.

The caterpillars of the Cabbage White Butterfly are quite small, ranging from 5-10 mm in length.

They are yellowish-green in color, with black spots on their body and a distinctive pattern of yellow stripes along their sides. 

The adult butterflies have a wingspan of approximately 4 cm and are typically white in color, with black markings near the edges of their wings.

During mating season, the butterflies fly in large groups, making it easy for observers to spot them.

This list of the types of flies in Delaware is incomplete without the Cabbage white butterfly.

19. Cimbicid Sawfly

Speaking of the types of flies in Delaware, the Cimbicid Sawfly is unusual. These flies are often mistaken for bees but are actually related to wasps.

Their yellow and black stripes can identify them on the wings and their distinct saw-like tail. 

They feed on pollen and nectar from flowers, plants, and small insects. They are rarely seen due to their shy nature but can be found in wet meadows and wooded areas.

Cimbicid Sawflies are important pollinators of native and cultivated flowers and help keep our ecosystem healthy.

20. Question Mark Butterfly

The Question Mark’s hindwings are primarily black, with orange and black tips. Dark brown and gray make up the underside of the wings, which is a very contrasting color.

Observing the Question Mark with its wings up and down could give the impression that it is two distinct butterflies. 

Its wings’ edges are gracefully carved with flowing curves. The tips of the hindwings bear short tails.

On the underside of the forewings, a small, unfinished white question mark can be seen, but the curve and dot are distinct.

Males scout for females while perched on branches, assessing their area. Intruders such as other butterflies, flying insects, and occasionally tiny birds are chased away by them.

Females deposit fertilized eggs on leaves close to a host plant until the end of May, making newly emerged larvae travel farther to find their first meal. 

The leaves of elm trees, hackberries, nettles, and false nettles are consumed by caterpillars.

Depending on their level of maturation, their bodies have a mixture of orange, red, black, and white speckles.

All caterpillars are covered with spikes that have a vicious appearance and branch out amid other spikes. They appear to be barrel cactus spines. 

As the caterpillar ages, its body turns several colors, including reddish with red-orange spikes or black and yellow with yellow spikes.

Adults prefer decaying fruit, sap, dung, and carrion juices, but they will sip floral nectar if these more pungent food sources are unavailable. Overall, they are also essential types of flies in Delaware!

21. Long-Legged Fly

This metallic green, copper, or even blue fly can be seen darting through the leaves of a forest or among the flowers of a meadow. It has bright red eyes.

This kind of fly can also be found living among the vegetation around ponds, lakes, or marsh edges. 

Compared to other types of flies in Delaware, its legs are a little bit longer in relation to its body. Instead of folding its wings flat against the body, it holds them away from it. 

Tall, thin Aphids, mites, gnats, beetle larvae, and smaller flies are among the smaller insects that flies feed on. This makes it a helpful insect since it removes bugs that hurt plants.

In addition to being seen feeding on tiny aquatic organisms, larvae (maggots) have also been discovered in rotting plant materials. 

This may be feasible given that the larvae of this fly frequently live near bodies of water, which provides a more varied environment for growth and eating. The full life cycle of this fly is largely unknown.

22. Coffin Fly

The Coffinfly, which is last on our list of different types of flies in Delaware, looks physically similar to its Mayfly relatives at first glance. Lengthy tail filaments are the tip of a long abdomen.

However, the coffin fly has three “tails’ ‘ when other species only have two. The dark-colored and patterned wings of coffin fly further distinguish them from mayflies. 

Similar to dragonflies, coffin flies inhabit areas with still or slowly moving water, such as ponds, creeks, tiny rivers, and shallow lakes.

Adults can be found in the hundreds of thousands from spring to summer if the water source is pure and unpolluted. 

Some species of coffin flies were once discovered in unearthed coffins, hence the name. As the coffin fly develops into its adult form, it undergoes several molts (phase transitions).

Early larvae resemble little lobsters or crayfish and live this early life stage completely underwater.


Delaware may be known for its sandy beaches and bustling cities, but it is also home to various fly species.

Delaware’s climate and diverse ecosystem provide an ideal environment for a wide range of fly species to thrive.

Above, we explored the different types of flies in Delaware and the characteristics that make them unique.

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