Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bee Fly - Bombylius

White Spot on Abdomen
As I walk out the front door I  breathe in the heavy sweetness, 
something that registers honeysuckle in my mind but impossible on 
this early Spring afternoon.  My husband commented on the insects
that  are swarming both our flowering dwarf plum 
and also the yews that line the front porch.  Obviously they too have
been attracted by the drifting aroma of the
almost imperceptible flowers that cover the bushes this season.

Yew flowers with insect
On closer inspection there are hundreds of insects hovering, 
flying and crawling over and in our bushes.  They are neither aggressive
 nor passive, mostly immune to our presence other than using us as
an occasional landing port or to part so we may travel through.
Our initial question was Is it a bee or a fly?
They have the mannerisms of a fly: rubbing their legs, the fly like walk.
There is no perceptible stinger but they are furry, buzzing and sipping nectar.

We believe these to be Bombylius, or Bee Fly.
There are several types each having slightly different 
characteristics but generally the same shape and similar coloring.
They are considered a pollinator with caution as they can be a 
danger to bees when they lay eggs in bee nests where their
larvae feed upon the stored pollen and bee larvae.

We'll have to read up on these or perhaps call our local
extension office since we are working our way into keeping bees.
 If you have any information please pass it on.


Harry Flashman said...

They look like a problem to me. We have "carpenter bees" here, and they are a nightmare.

Spray 'em!

LindaG said...

Not sure if I have seen those before, but I do know we have lots of carpenter bees and wasps around

Have a wonderful Sunday!