11 Different Types of Flies in Iowa

Different Types of Flies in Iowa
Photo by Viktor Talashuk

What are the Types of flies in Iowa? Flies come in a variety of shapes and sizes in Iowa.

Your initial inclination may be to reach for the swatter as these tiny critters swarm around your home.

A better remedy, though, would be to avoid letting these bugs inside in the first place.

Here are the types of flies in Iowa, as well as what causes them to fly into your home:

1. American HoverFly

American Hoverfly is first on our list of Types of flies in Iowa. This species of Flower Fly that is beneficial to people and entirely safe is Hover Flies(American HoverFly).

Because of its colors and striped abdomen, this genus is regarded as a bee imitation. 

Even some species’ resting wings appear to have two pairs (like most bees and wasps). They create this effect by giving their one pair of wings a darker front border.

Adult hoverflies consume flower nectar while eating by visiting numerous blossoms daily.

Inadvertently, they pollinate gardens by carrying a lot of pollen from flower to flower on their bodies.

They also devour aphids and other plant pests when they are in their larval stage, as if the advantages of having them pollinate plants weren’t enough to urge them to flourish.

2. American Lady Butterfly

The Brush-footed butterfly family includes the American Lady Butterfly(Vanessa virginiensis). It connects to the West Coast Lady, the Red Admiral, and the Painted Lady. 

The tiny hairs or bristles on the front legs, which resemble those on a toothbrush, are pretty short. They can appear to have only four legs due to the length of their front legs.

One can mistakenly believe they are gazing at two separate butterflies due to the stark differences in this species’ upper and below colors.

The forewings and the hindwings have an orange, black, and white dorsal (top side). 

The center of the orange forewing has a tiny white dot. A row of black dots can be seen close to the lower margin of the hindwings.

The center of the two most significant of these is blue. When the wings are spread wide and flat, these Types of flies in Iowa are the most noticeable. 

The butterfly’s ventral side, or underside, is remarkably patterned when its wings are closed.

With a flash of vivid pink on the forewings, this side of the wings is a mosaic of gray, white, and brown. Each of the two sizable eyespots on the hindwings is helpful for identification.

Fields, canyons, and meadows are the sunny, open habitats this butterfly loves. They are in the northern and southern U.S. and Canada during the summer.

In the winter, they travel to Mexico and the southern United States for the milder climate.

3. American Salmonfly

The giant stonefly in North America, the American salmonfly (Pteronarcys dorsata), is most active from late spring through late summer.

The American Salmonfly, like other members of the Stonefly family, is a helpful bioindicator. 

During these early phases of development, the aquatic larvae of the American salmon fly reside underwater and are very vulnerable to pollution. The larvae will perish if the water is contaminated with pollutants. 

Therefore, the presence of many adults indicates that the water supply and the ecosystem it supports are clean and in good health.

The appearance of American Salmon Types of flies in Iowa is quite pleasing to fishers. Adults live brief lives of less than a month and do not eat.

They have dark wings that fold tightly around their long, lean bodies. Their heads have bulging black eyeballs on the sides.

An orange line that virtually links the two ends of a dark pronotum (also known as a “neck collar”) is surrounded by bright orange at both ends. 

The legs and long, black antennae resemble those of beetles. They wait for opportunities to reproduce by resting on rocks, reeds, and branches close to or above water. 

Adult Types of flies in Iowa who feel threatened can expel a chemical irritant from their legs to deter an attacker. They might play dead if that doesn’t work.

Fertilized eggs are dropped into the water by females Types of flies in Iowa. They spawn and grow into larvae there. Algae and other submerged decaying plant debris make up their food.

4. Aphrodite Fritillary Butterfly

The goddess of love, joy, and beauty in Greek mythology is Aphrodite. A beautiful summery butterfly that only has one brood a year is the Aphrodite Fritillary( Speyeria Aphrodite). 

Its identification can be a little difficult because it has many near relatives that closely resemble it.

Males and females differ in size, and different parts of the continent have varied colors, further complicating matters. 

The Aphrodite Fritillary’s yellow-green eyes provide a quick means to rule out practically all relatives.

Although they both have yellow-green eyes and live in Aphrodite’s range, the Great Spangled Fritillary and Atlantis Fritillary are significantly larger and smaller than the medium-sized Aphrodite.

Aphrodite Fritillary males Butterflies typically have a two-week head start on females and are smaller.

During the hotter periods of the day, they actively look for females. Females can be seen strolling on the ground close to violets after mating, laying fertilized eggs at a rate of roughly one per plant. 

In the late summer, the caterpillar that emerges from these eggs consumes the leaves of numerous varieties of violets. From head to tail, parts of its black body are covered in lengthy rows of bristles. 

These bristles could be yellow or black. When violets bloom in the spring, it re-emerges after spending the winter hiding in a shelter of leaves. They need two or three weeks to pupate.

5. Band-winged Crane Fly

Band-winged crane fly is also on our list of Types of flies in Iowa. Despite resembling a mosquito, a cranefly is a big fly that does neither bite nor sting.

Crane flies (Epiphragm fasciapenne) stretch out their one pair of wings as they rest on vegetation, window screens, and buildings. 

A band-winged bird The translucent wings of the cranefly are speckled with dark dots. The overall result is broad, black bands and thin, light bands.

This fly has six long legs, typically bent and extending outward in all directions from the body. Because a crane fly can quickly lose a leg, it’s typical to encounter one with fewer than six.

6. Bee-like Robber Fly

Bee-like robber flies are next on our list of Types of flies in Iowa. It looks teeny, svelte, and black; bee-like Thief Flies resemble wasps or bees in appearance.

They can fly well and only pose harm to the insects they consume. They don’t sting since they are flies.

This particular genus contains many species, making it difficult to distinguish them from one another at first glance. They all have thick facial “beards.”

Adults hunt after and eat other flying insects in the air. Larvae eat softer ground-dwelling insects like grubs and caterpillars.

Look at the boundaries of the woodland for this sort of Robber Fly( Laphria spp), which resembles a bee.

When waiting for food to come by, they may perch on branches and on, beneath, or between leaves.

7. Black Firefly

Next on our list of Types of flies in Iowa is Black Firefly. Black Fireflies (Lucidota atra) are entirely black. Round and yellow, the pronotum (also known as the “shoulder”) extends over the head like a shield. 

There is a huge black spot in the center with red borders on either side. Although adult Black

Firefly males do not use their light organ; they may do so when emerging from the pupal case.

Instead, chemical pheromones are released into the atmosphere to alert other species members to their presence. 

Both sexes still have diminished light organs, making them fireflies while only being active at night.

Like other types of fireflies, black fireflies can be found in meadows near bodies of water, parks, fields, and woodlands. 

This species favors damp, humid environments. Don’t wait for them to illuminate; that won’t happen with this species. Instead, keep an eye out for them in the air, ground, and plants.

8. Ornate Snipe Fly

The Ornate Snipe Fly (Chrysopilus ornatus) has black and golden-yellow bands on its abdomen that make convincing bee impersonations. Golden hairs can also be seen on the thorax. 

The fly’s small antennae demonstrate that, while appearing like a bee, it is a fly. Its legs are yellow but turn darker at the feet, and its wings are translucent.

Males are relatively slim, whereas females appear to have more bloated abdomens.

This fly frequently lands on leaves. Few insects have a shimmer that draws attention because of their realistic gold look.

The Ornate Snipe Fly can be found close to and inside wooded areas where its larvae have access to a consistent source of decomposing wood.

9. Northern Caddisfly

Despite their similarity to moths, northern caddisflies are unrelated to them. The life cycle of Northern caddisfly (Pycnopsyche sp) is more like that of a dragonfly. 

Female caddisflies lay fertilized eggs immediately in the water or on vegetation above the water line.

Significant ecosystems include creeks, streams, lagoons, ponds, and lakes. When the eggs hatch, the worm-like larvae dwell underwater for up to a year. 

They can breathe thanks to their feathery gills. When it’s time to pupate, they construct tiny cases or “homes” for themselves that they carry around wherever they go.

They consume aquatic insects and submerged plant matter in the interim.

Underwater, they molt numerous times, expanding and creating newer, larger casings as necessary.

They float or crawl out of the water after pupation to become their adult, winged form and take off.

Seeing one is unusual because adults only have a month or two to live. They skip meals. Instead, they occupy their entire remaining day with reproduction.

Because the immature Northern Caddisfly spends a significant portion of its life underwater, the water quality significantly impacts the insect’s survival.

The delicate larvae are killed by toxic or chemically contaminated water, which causes a reduced population or the complete absence of caddisflies in that area.

Biologists, therefore, see the presence of Caddisfly larvae and their adults as a sign of how clean that water source is. 

10. Winter Stonefly

Winter stoneflies (Various Spp) develop and grow during the coldest times of the year.

As water temperatures drop, the deeper, oxygen-rich water towards the bottom of streams, rivers, and lakes can finally mingle with the now-colder surface water in the fall and winter. 

This implies that any aquatic organism that needs oxygen to dissolve in water might grow.

Winter stoneflies are aquatic insects whose larvae live their entire lives in rivers and streams. They require highly oxygenated water to exist as well.

Therefore, their capacity to resist frigid temperatures and even thrive there enables them to benefit from better habitat circumstances when most other aquatic insects aren’t present.

Late winter is when adults mate and the female lays fertilized eggs in the water. Stoneflies only have a week or two to lay their eggs before they die.

During the spring and summer, the newly hatched nymphs feed for a brief period before going into a state similar to hibernation. 

In the cooler months, they move again, molting 10 to 24 times before emerging from the water to develop into winged adults.

Exuviae, which resemble tiny small crustaceans, are the tough outer shells of their nymph bodies and are frequently seen close to the water.

This generation of Winter Stoneflies Types of flies in Iowa matures into adults and mates and repeats the cycle, maintaining a population in that region year after year.

11. Virginia Flower Fly

This fly is one of those fantastic mimics of bees, wasps, and hornets. The black and yellow striping prevents wary predators from attacking. 

Predators still have another compelling reason to avoid this species because it flies like a Yellowjacket and is known for its aggressive defense (and offensive) stinging behavior.

The Virginia Flower Fly(Milesia virginiensis) can hover like a wasp over petals. However, because it is a fly, it is harmless to humans and does not sting.

It’s typical for flies to create a loud buzzing noise when they fly. It seems broken because of its exceptionally flat abdomen, which can bend downward.

Because it actively pollinates the flowers it visits, this fly is highly advantageous in the garden because it helps the plant reproduce.

It has a reputation for occasionally flying close to people’s heads as if trying to communicate with them. 

It was formerly endearingly referred to as a “news bee” because of the way it pretended to be bringing the daily news.

It is a cute insect that is so well-liked that the United States Postal Service included it on a stamp in 1999 that featured insects.

There are several different settings where adult Virginia Flower Types of flies in Iowa can be found, including parks, backyard gardens, meadows, and forests.


When you encounter flies, you see symptoms of an underlying problem that you can’t just swat away.

Knowing the types of flies in Iowa is half the battle. Because various flies have varied dietary and breeding habits, recognizing the species is crucial to solving the problem.

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