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in Wildlife gardening
For a while now I have seen lots of insects in my garden that resemble bees but hover and have a long probosis. Someone told me they were hummingbird hawk moths but it is far too early and they are much larger. After investigating online I have discovered that they are in fact flies and are parasitic on solitary bees and wasps and beetles. fortunately they don't sting. Has anyone else seen these?
Bee flies 'bombyliidae' often seen around primroses in early spring. several different species occur and are generally identified by the wing patterns, veination. The most commonly seen is Bombylius major.
primroses are adapted to be cross-pollinated by bee flies, with both pin eyed and thrum eyed types of flower held on seperate plants. I implore people to look closely at their primroses and see the differences from plant to plant in the arrangement of stigma and anthers.
We had a colony of solitary bees in the front garden by the wall. It looked like someone had jabbed the sandy soil with a pencil to make holes. Two weeks ago we found some in the back lawn. Then last week I found these weird furry hoverfly type things with long proboscis jabbing around in the primroses. Looked them up and found they were beeflys that don't have a sting and lay their eggs so the larvae can predate on the solitary bee larvae. We've got a little ecosystem.
Wonderful isn't it Anne
They are quite lovely to see about, but didn't know they predate the solitary bees , I see a couple from time to time in my garden and they themselves are responsible for my purchase of a book on insects & one of the best books I've bought. They do remind me of the golden Snitch from Harry Potter, hovering and then darting about.
It was the weird darting about that made me notice them. You're right, they are a bit like a golden snitch.
Just seen The One Show on BBC and they talked about bee flies. I reported earlier seeing a common carder bee, but wasn't convinced as it had a long proboscis. Now I feel I know that what I saw was a bee fly - coincidentally on the primroses.