Scientists track hoverfly migration

Radar showed up to 4 billion hoverflies migrate in and out of southern England each year. ©Matt

Researchers are using radar to understand more about insect migrations. In southern England, scientists run a network of small radar stations that scan the sky 24 hours a day and detect insects flying. The research team used this radar on marmalade hoverflies (Episyrphus balteatus) to learn more about their migration. First, they determined the insect’s distinct radar signature, and then they tracked them. They estimated up to 4 billion hoverflies migrate in and out of southern England each year. Learning about this insect’s migration is important as hoverflies benefit the ecosystem in multiple ways. They defend gardens and farms by eating aphids, and they pollinate flowers.

Read more in The New York Times or check out the study here.