Currently viewing the category: "Robber Flies"
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Subject: What kind of bug is this?
Location: Naperville, Illinois
July 21, 2012 3:04 pm
Dear bugman,
I just took this picture of a bug on my balcony. I have never seen anything like it. It has six legs, kind of spiderish looking, but has wings, big eyes, and a black ”nose” or whatever you call it.
Signature: Heidi

Hanging Thieg

Hi Heidi,
This is a predatory Robber Fly in the genus
Diogmites, a group commonly called Hanging Thieves because they hang from a single leg while feeding.  We have gotten numerous identification requests for Hanging Thieves in the past week.

Thanks for your quick reply! After reading up about the Robber Fly, it makes sense. We have a wasp problem, and the Robber Fly preys on them.
Thank you!

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Subject: Robber Fly
Location: Baldwin Hills in Los Angeles, CA
July 20, 2012 1:12 pm
Hi. Here are the shots of that robber fly I mentioned, taken July 15, 2009. S/he’s just over an inch long.
Signature: Tracy

Bee Killer

Hi Tracy,
Though your most recent visitor is a Tachinid Fly rather than a Robber Fly, this impressive specimen from several years ago really is a Robber Fly, more specifically a Bee Killer,
Mallophora fautrix.  According to BugGuide, it is the only member of its genus found in California.  Bee Killers are large Robber Flies that attack on the wing Bees, Wasps and other large flying insects.

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Subject: HUGE Wasp??
Location: Illinois
July 17, 2012 8:31 am
this HUGE wasp-like insect has been hanging around our garage and garden. Is it harmful to humans ,as in, will it sting us? I am allergic to stings and I’m a little nervous to go into the garden! It is eating other insects as this picture shows, and this morning when I went to the garden, it flew up from the garden with another bug in it’s legs. We live in Illinois and today is July 17, 2012.
Signature: Mary G.

Hanging Thief eats Paper Wasp

Hi Mary,
The predator in your photo is living up to its common name Hanging Thief.  Hanging Thieves are a family of Robber Flies that often hand from a single leg while feeding.  The only wasp in your photo it the Paper Wasp that is being eaten by the Hanging Thief.  Hanging Thieves often prey upon wasps and bees.  We do not know of anyone being bitten by a Hanging Thief, but we imagine they are capable of biting if they are carelessly handled. 

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Subject: Really weird scary fly(?)
Location: In East Finland, close to the border to Russia
July 14, 2012 8:32 am
Hi, I found this kind of a bug yesterday from this one pole outside, I first thought that it was some kind of a big moth but when I went to look at it closely I was really shocked of what it really was… And today I found two of them in the same pole. So do you have any idea what it is? It’s about 3-4 centimeters tall, and it seems to eat other insects as in the last picture one of them is eating a ladybug.
I tried searching it from books but I couldn’t find anything that would have even looked like it. In the internet again I found pictures of these ”robber flies” and some of the species remind me of this bug. So could this be some species of the robber fly?
I would also like to know that is it possible that it bites humen? My dad was quite sure that it would bite me if I went there but it looked more like the bug tried to mind its own business and be in peace when I went too close.
Hope to get answers to my questions soon.
With love, Heidi.
Signature: Insert-cool-sign-here?

Robber Fly

Hello Heidi,
You are correct that this is a Robber Fly, but we are not familiar with European species and we cannot at the moment provide a genus or species.  We have not heard of anyone being bitten by a Robber Fly and they are not aggressive toward humans, but they are predators with piercing mouthparts.  It is entirely possible if one carelessly handled a Robber Fly that a bite might occur.

Thank you for answering my questions, I’m very happy to know about the fly. I’m very curious about it, so I will try to find out more information about it. I was happily surprised that I was able to tell that it was a robber fly, it should now be easier for me to try to find out more about it.
Thank you again, and keep on the good work!
From: Heidi (Finland)

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Subject: false bumble bee??
Location: tyler rose garden, texas
July 9, 2012 3:24 pm
found this today at rose garden here at tyler, texas..looks like a bumble bee but it is eating another bee, possibly a real bumble bee..i know bugs pretty well but no idea what this one is..summer..july 9..
Signature: huh??unsure what this means..standard i guess..

Bee Killer with Prey

Dear huh??,
This Robber Fly is a Bee Killer,
Mallophora orcina, which you can verify on bugGuide.  The prey in this photo might be a Honey Bee, but it is difficult to tell for certain.

thanx, i have a photo of a bearded robber fly but the colors on this one totally different….i try to positively identify my photos before posting..again thanx!

Red Footed Cannibalfly

Thanks for sending another photo of a Robber Fly.  In our opinion, this is a Red Footed Cannibalfly, Promachus rufipes, one of the Giant Robber Flies.  You can verify that identification on BugGuide.  These large Robber Flies are very impressive and you do grow them big in Texas.

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Subject: Bug found in San Antonio, TX
Location: San Antonio, TX
June 30, 2012 2:34 pm
My girl friend in San Antonio found this lovely specimen in her garden buzzing around today (June 30, 2012). She asked me to find out what it is and sent me some pictures. Any help would be greatly appreciated and thank you in advance.
Signature: Georgeanne

Belzebul Bee Killer

Hi Georgeanne,
These photos are wonderful.  This is quite a formidable Robber Fly,
Mallophora leschenaulti, commonly called the Belzebul Bee Killer or Black Bee Killer according to BugGuide, which also notes:  “Remarkably, has been reported to attack and kill hummingbirds.”  These large, robust Robber Flies are easily mistaken for Bumble Bees. 

Belzebul Bee Killer

Thank you, Daniel, for the ID. I will let my pal in Texas know. She will be quite tickled you
like her photos.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination