How to make a hoverfly lagoon

How to make a hoverfly lagoon

Attract pollinating hoverflies to your garden with this hoverfly lagoon.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do To do in April

Do To do in May

Do To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do not To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do not To do in December

Hoverflies are important garden pollinators. While many lay eggs on aphid-infested plants, some, like the drone fly (Eristalis tenax), need stagnant water to breed.

This hoverfly lagoon can be placed in a corner of the garden, where the organic matter added to the water will gradually break down, creating the perfect habitat for hoverfly larvae.

In this No Fuss video guide, Kate Bradbury explains how to make a ‘hoverfly lagoon’ in which certain species will come and lay their eggs:

More on gardening for hoverflies and other pollinators:

Follow the quick steps in this guide to create your own hoverfly lagoon.

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You Will Need

  • Container, something to block up any holes if present – we used pond liner
  • Organic matter, grass clippings are ideal, but leaf litter or bark chippings also work
  • Twigs or sticks, we used bamboo

Step 1

Weigh out around 100g of organic material and choose a small container. Line it with pond liner or similar if it has a hole.

Weigh out the grass clippings
Weigh out the grass clippings

Step 2

Fill the container with your organic material. Cram in as much as possible, as it will break down very quickly.

Cram in the grass clippings until the container is two-thirds full
Cram in the grass clippings until the container is two-thirds full

Step 3

Add twigs or bamboo, placed vertically so the larvae will be able to climb up from the bottom when they’re ready to pupate.

Add the twigs to the container
Add the twigs to the container

Step 4

Fill the pot with water and add extra clippings or leaf litter to the surface. This will give the adults something to land on.

Fill the container with water and add extra clippings
Fill the container with water and add extra clippings
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Attracting other hoverfly species

Attract early hoverflies to your garden by growing a patch of nettles. These will attract nettle aphids, which hoverflies love.