Its definitely summer in Adelaide, with temperatures in the mid to high 30s all week and a predicted maximum of 40ºC for tomorrow, luckily both the lab reared hoverflies and myself get to enjoy the air-conditioned comfort of the lab. Although I can’t help but wonder how these extreme temperatures affect hoverflies in the wild? We certainly observe less wild hoverflies on hot days but we don’t know if they are simply sheltering from the heat and therefore out of sight or if indeed extreme temperatures also lead to a decline in numbers. Extended heatwave conditions would most likely impact hoverflies in multiple ways, including physical stress on individual hoverflies, changes in food availability as the number of flowering plants are impacted, as well as potential effects on both the breeding and larval/pupal stages of their life cycle.
With climate change predictions suggesting heatwaves will become more frequent, more extreme and longer lasting what does this mean for pollinators? While there is a large body of research implicating climate change as one of the significant factors in the decline of the world's bee populations, are hoverflies equally affected?