The Bee fly is a bee mimic and a bee eater! video

July 5, 2014

in A selection of my garden wildlife videos, Bumblebees and their ecology, Gardening For Wildlife

The Bee Fly

The Bee Fly is a furry looking fly thats looks similar to a Bombus pascuorum worker. Its larvae eats bees larvae. It is a bee mimic (Bombylius major?) and harmless to humans even with that very long proboscis protruding out of its mouth! Unlike bumblebees, it cannot retract it and store it under its thorax. It hovers near a flower head and uses it to collect nectar by probing inside retrieving the energy giving nectar. Sometimes they will gently land on the petals enabling them to feed. They are very fast flyers.

Bombylius major (large bee-fly) Nurturing Nature

This one resting on the light coloured gravel is absorbing the sun, which they like to do.



They have no sting to kill or paralyse their hosts. Instead they lay their eggs near to the entrances of solitary mining bee nests and ground nesting bumblebee nests. Females flick their eggs into the tunnels and the resulting larvae bide their time, bigger hosts make bigger meals! Then they suck the bee larvae dry.

Besides my own observations and experiences….

Detailed information Natural History Museum from the comfort of your chair!

Benton, T. (2006). “Bumblebees”Harper Collins Publisher, London.

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