I grow potted trees in zone 5 of northeastern USA and spend time watching the nature around them. I have been trying to learn more about the insects that frequent the plants, whether for good or bad.

In early summer I was regularly seeing the insect shown in photos below. I still see it sometimes, but not as frequently. I couldn't tell that it was hurting any leafs but it was putting its mouth to the leafs as if eating or sucking on something. Is it helping (protecting from other pests) or hurting (being a pest) the leafs? Its mouthparts and coloration are not like mosquitoes' but it otherwise its form is similar to one. It seemed to land on various leafs and trees in different areas of the garden but I noticed it most on hazelnuts (maybe just by chance).

Tan flying insect

Tan flying insect

Tan flying insect

A related question, maybe better a separate question, is how do you learn all the insects that frequent your plants? Are there good resources or methods to ID insects in a garden?

  • 1
    I think our sister site Biology SE could be a better place to get an id. We typically focus on those animals (of every size) that interact with our plants, e.g. eating them or eating pests like aphids.
    – Stephie
    Jul 14, 2017 at 16:40

1 Answer 1


robber flies

This is a tough one CrO. This guy could be a robber fly. I think this is a predator and a good guy. What bothers me is the fly in your pictures looks like it was laying eggs in those leaves. Such as leaf miners do. Check this article out and look up other pictures to see what you think.


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