Is a bee fly a bee or a fly?

Bee-flies look rather like bees but are actually true flies (Diptera). They have round, furry bodies and a long proboscis (tongue) held out straight. The proboscis can sometimes cause alarm but they do not bite or sting and just use it to drink nectar from spring flowers, often while hovering.

Is there such a thing as a bee fly?

These are flies of the genus Bombylius, members of a large family of flies, Bombyliidae, known as bee flies. They are among the many flies that imitate bees, bumblebees in this case, and this is how they got both their common and their scientific name.

Are bees and flies related?

As you know bees sting, but flies do not. Bees can be said to be closely related to ants and wasps whereas flies are not. Bees are known to make honey and store it. They are also known for their role in pollination.

What plants do bees fly?

The dark-edged bee-fly, or ‘Large bee-fly’, looks rather like a bumblebee, with a long, straight proboscis that it uses to feed on nectar from spring flowers, such as primroses and violets.

Are bee flies harmful?

Large bee-fly, Bombylius major, is a parasite but doesn’t bite, sting or spread disease. Even though they have a long thin tongue (proboscis) that looks like it could hurt, bee-flies do not sting nor spread disease and are harmless to humans. The long proboscis is actually used for feeding on flower nectar.

Do bees fly with their legs down?

Native bees also move much more quickly on flowers which makes it even more challenging to identify them. Another in-flight identification trick is that honey bees fly with their back legs dangling down while natives tend to tuck them up.

What flowers do bees fly?

Bee-flies visit numerous taxa of different families, but prefer groups with hypocrateriform, tubular, disk and lip flowers, while other floral types, such as keel and funnel flowers, receive less attention. The preferred colours of the flowers visited are purple, violet, blue and white.

Why do bee flies hover?

One species in particular, the Dark-edged Bee-fly Bombylius major, is a familar sign of spring as it hovers over flowers and uses its long proboscis (‘tongue’) to feed from them.

Why do hover flies land on you?

Hover flies often swarm around people and even land on them, presumably looking for moisture and salts on our skin. These small flies are bright yellow and black in color and are often confused with sweat bees or a yellow jacket wasps but rest assured that these are flies and not bees. Flies cannot sting.

What is the lifespan of a hoverfly?

12 days
Most adult hoverflies live an average of 12 days, but their life span can vary depending on the species. The ‘Hammerschmidtia ferruginea’, for example, has been found to live up to 55 days.

Why are the Bombyliidae called the bee flies?

In parts of East Anglia, locals refer to them as beewhals, thanks to their tusk-like appendages. Many Bombyliidae superficially resemble bees and accordingly the prevalent common name for a member of the family is bee fly. Possibly the resemblance is Batesian mimicry, affording the adults some protection from predators .

How big do bee flies get in Australia?

This page contains pictures and information about Bee Flies in family Bombyliidae that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia. Bee Flies are from medium to large in size. They are usually stout and hairy. Bee Flies have long proboscis. They feed on nectar and pollen. Bee Flies are strong flier.

How big is The wingspan of a Bombyliidae fly?

The Bombyliidae are a large family of flies comprising hundreds of genera, but the lifecycles of most species are known poorly, or not at all. They range in size from very small (2 mm in length) to very large for flies (wingspan of some 40 mm). When at rest, many species hold their wings at a characteristic “swept back” angle.

What kind of proboscis does a bee fly have?

Proboscis either short with broad tip, or long and used to take nectar. Hover and dart, rather like syrphid flies. Females sometimes seen hovering over sandy areas, dipping abdomen to oviposit. Key to e. Canada spp. ( 3)