Bee Fly

Posted: April 21, 2015 in Insects, Natural History


On this week’s insect survey I came across this creature. At first I thought it was a bee, but on close examination the head and the wing pattern were clearly not of a bee. Then I saw a post on facebook about the Bee Fly, a family which I had not encountered before. I think this is an example of Bombylius Major, it certainly looks very like the pictures I have found.

Bee Flies feed on nectar and pollen and are important pollenators. The larva feed on other insects, Although there are a large number of species (c4500 have so far been identified), they are not well studied and much is still unknown about their biology.

The mouth parts have become specially adapted for feeding on pollen in much the same way as that of a hummingbird. The length varies with those of the Bombyliinae approx four times the length of the head. The Wing venation is also of help in seperating the species.

The larva are buried in the sand and are parasitic on other flies and bees.

By Jochem Kuhnen (

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