Currently viewing the category: "Robber Flies"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: red footed
Location: alabama
July 26, 2014 2:49 pm
Does this thing bite or sting humans?
Signature: freaked out

Redfooted Cannibalfly eats Paper Wasp

Red-Footed Cannibalfly eats Paper Wasp

Dear freaked out,
Though the Red-Footed Cannibalfly,
Promachus rufipes, is a very adept hunter capable of taking stinging wasps like this Paper Wasp on the wing, they are not aggressive towards humans.  With that said, if a human ever tried to capture a Red-Footed Cannibalfly or other large Robber Fly with bare hands, a bite may result.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: A Fly Or A Bee?
Location: Torrance, California
July 24, 2014 9:49 am
Dear Bugman,
By the end of June of this year, we found a couple of these insects in our front yard. The bigger one was about one inch long. We live in Torrance, California, and have never seen them before. Could you help us to identify them?
Thanks.
Signature: Daniel.

Bee Killer:  Mallophora fautrix

Bee Killer: Mallophora fautrix

Dear Daniel,
This Robber Fly in the genus
Mallophora goes by the collective general name of Bee Killer.  Your particular Bee Killer is Mallophora fautrix, a species with no specific common name, but according to BugGuide, it is:  “The only one of its genus in California.”  As you can see from the images in our links, Bee Killers prey on large flying insects other than Bees, and it is a rare, top of the insect food chain predator that preys upon adult, stinging wasps.  Though you are not the discoverer of a new species, you can spearhead a campaign to nominate the only Bee Killer in California as the California Bee Killer, even though its range extends beyond our fair state.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: I’ve never seen this bug before….
Location: Delaware
July 20, 2014 5:29 pm
I’d really like to know what this bug is, why I’ve been seeing them so often lately, and why I have not seen them before (if that’s possible to answer).
I live in Delaware (the state in the US) and this summer I’ve been seeing these everywhere I go.
Signature: ….I don’t really have a preference?

Hanging Thief

Hanging Thief

We just posted a lengthy description of a Hanging Thief.  As to why you have seen them recently, we can only respond that insect populations fluctuate due to weather conditions, food supplies and other factors.  Then again, perhaps you have just gotten more observant.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: what is this?
Location: North carolina (central)
July 20, 2014 10:23 am
Please tell me name of this bug never have seen anything like it–was on my back porch
Signature: c santana

Hanging Thief

Hanging Thief

Dear c santana,
This impressive, predatory Robber Fly in the genus
Diogmites is commonly called a Hanging Thief because they frequently hang by one or two legs while feeding.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Ovipositing Robber Fly
Location: Andover (Sussex Cty) NJ
July 20, 2014 5:51 am
I just thought I’d send this photo along to you because it was something I’d not seen before. I was walking on a lakeside trail looking for dragonflies when I saw this large robber fly ovisositing. She was so large that initially I thought she was a small dragon. I was able to crouch down and watch her for several minutes.
Signature: Deborah Bifulco

Female Robber Fly deposits eggs

Female Robber Fly deposits eggs

Hi Deborah,
Thank you for supplying us with this marvelous documentation of a Robber Fly in the act of ovipositing.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults lay eggs in the soil or in plants. A few, such as
Mallophora and Megaphorus form an egg mass on a plant stem. Larvae often predatory, consuming eggs and larvae of other insects in decaying matter. Typically overwinter as pupa, emerge in spring. Life cycle is 1-3 years.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Two days in a row I came across these in the morning. Sacken’s Bee Hunterr
Location: Hemet Ca.
July 18, 2014 12:53 pm
I see that these kill our honey bees, I have found tow on the truck on two different days. I left them alone becasue I was not sure what they were. Now that I know, I want to kill them to protect our honey bees. your thoughts?
Signature: Lynn in So Cal

Bee Killer

Bee Killer

Hi Lynn,
Your mistaking this Bee Killer,
Mallophora fautrix, for Sacken’s Bee Hunter is understandable, but taking a closer look at the images posted to BugGuide and comparing them to images of Bee Killers in our archive will reveal some differences.  Sacken’s Bee Hunter has a yellow thorax and black abdomen with yellow tip, while your individual has a black thorax and yellow abdomen.  The antennae are also more thin and hairlike, and according to BugGuide, individuals in the genus Mallophora have :  “antennae with a very thin terminal final segment, whereas Laphria has thick antennae.”  We would urge you not to kill the Robber Flies as their predation is not the greatest problem faced by Honey Bees, and while the Robber Flies will prey on Honey Bees, they also feed on a variety of other winged insects.  Images in our archives show them preying on wasps.

Thank you so much for this information!. I have not nor will I kill these bee killers. I know everything has a place in the food chain and now that I know they do not just prey on our honey bees I will leave them alone, I found another this morning, I find it strange  to find one in the last 3 days. I need to read up on them to see if they have hives or nest?
Thanks again!!!
Lynn

Robber Flies are solitary hunters that do not have hives nor nests.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination