Giant bee eating Japanese beetle
July 30, 2009
While working in my garden, i came across what appeared to be a giant bumblebee eating a Japanese beetle. The bee had a fuzzy abdomen that was striped yellow and black. It was between 1 3/4 ” and 2 ” long. The Japanese beetle was 1/2 ” long. The bee was flying around holding the beetle in it’s mouth. It was huge! Any ideas on what it is?
Floyd county, VA
About a week ago we receive a question if Robber Flies ate Japanese Beetles. We wish your photo had arrived before we answered. Since Japanese Beetles are an invasive exotic species that does considerable damage to ornamental plants, many gardeners would welcome these Robber Flies into their yards, including our own mother in Ohio. This is a Bee-Like Robber Fly in the genus Laphria, which can be distinguished from the genus Mallophora by the antennae. This is explained on BugGuide on the Mallophora genus page thus: “Resemble Laphria, another genus of robbers that mimic bumblebees, but is even hairier and has antennae with a very thin terminal final segment, whereas Laphria has thick antennae.” Based on images posted to BugGuide, we believe your specimen most closely resembles Laphria grossa, but we would like an expert confirmation on the species.