It looks like a bee or wasp, but it is a true fly. The hover fly also called the flower fly or syrphid fly belongs to the order of true flies, Diptera (derived from the Greek word meaning two wings), and family Syrphidae. There are numerous species of hover flies with Allograpta obliqua a common one seen in the Galveston and Houston area, Southern Florida and much of the continental United States.
How can you tell? The coloration with yellow bands on a brown or black colored body often mimics a bee or wasp. But, unlike bees and wasp which belong to the order Hymenoptera, hover flies have only two forewings and two stubby halteres instead of hind wings which function as sensory flight stabilizers. Another difference is that hover flies do not sting. Adults feed on nectar and pollen of flowers.
You often see them hovering over a flower looking for not only nectar to feed their high energy flight but also a place with lots of aphids. Hover flies go through complete metamorphosis. Females lay single eggs near aphids. Larvae, called maggots, hatch after two to three days, and start their voracious eating habits by consuming hundreds of aphids before pupating and completing their life cycle.
Hover flies are considered beneficial insects and by planting the following plants such as Alyssum, Cosmos, Yarrow, Goldenrod, Fall Asters and Grasses or any other plant that produce pollen necessary for the females to lay eggs, will bring these lovely insects to your garden and help control aphids and other insect infestations.