help with identification
December 26, 2009
Dr. Mr. Bugman,
Like a lot of very silly people, I called this a bee. Then, I started looking for what kind of “bee” this is and realized that it’s probably not a bee at all. Smooth, bright yellow and black markings…I’m guessing a very poor pollinator….short antennae… and spotted in southeaster Alabama in late October on my cold frame plastic.
Would love to know what this little flyer is…since I did a graphic design of it…and want to call it something more than BeeArt…since it’s not a bee at all. Of this, I’m pretty certain. Thanks to your wonderful web site!
Kimberly, a master gardener, lover of bugs, but still learning about the birds & the bees
Ozark, Alabama (southeastern Alabama)
This is a Yellow Jacket Hover Fly, Milesia virginiensis. It is one of the Syrphid Flies in the family Syrphidae, commonly called Flower Flies or Hover Flies. Many species in the family mimic bees and wasps, hence your original confusion. The adult Yellow Jacket Hover Fly feeds on nectar and pollen from plants like Queen Anne’s Lace, and it will also be attracted to the blooms of related plants in your garden like parsley, dill and carrots. BugGuide has a wealth of information on the Yellow Jacket Hover Fly, including this tidbit gleaned from AllExperts.com: “Flies aggressively and buzzes like a hornet. In the southern United States, sometimes called the news bee or good news bee for its habit of hovering in front of a person and “giving them the news”. It is also said to be good luck if one can get the insect to perch on a finger, no doubt because this is difficult to do.“
Dear Mr. Marlos,
You have made my day….and I so appreciate your prompt response to my question re: identifying this colorful creature. I adore the BUGS website and am grateful to folks, like you, who give this your time. Such a worthy endeavor. Thanks to you I am now a more informed individual and will be addressing this bee/yellow jacket mix up on my blog. After I do, I’ll share the link with you…..so you can see the YJHF Art I created.