What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Bee Fly or Kanye West Imitator?
January 26, 2010
Hi Daniel,
Here I am again with a bug I can’t identify. My first thought is that is was a bee, but maybe it’s a bee fly instead? It didn’t hover around between flowers like a regular honey bee, and when it left the plant, it flew fast and straight right past my ear. I didn’t notice a bee’s buzz when this happened. Any ideas?
Thanks, Anna
Hawthorne, California

Syrphid Fly

Hi Anna,
Though it very closely mimics a Honey Bee, your fly, Eristalinus taeniops, is actually a Syrphid Fly in the family Syrphidae.  Syrphid Flies are also known as Flower Flies or Hover Flies.  According to BugGuide, your Syrphid Fly has only been reported from California.

Syrphid Fly

As usual, thank you so very much.  I did look around at whatsthatbug.com and at bugguide.net and didn’t find anything.  Glad to know that I’m getting better at figuring out the difference between bees and their imitating fly counterparts.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
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5 Responses to Syrphid Fly

  1. Meatwad says:

    Growing up just east of Mission Bay, San Diego California in the 1960s, we would catch these things we called “H bees” with our bare hands, they never stung and I found out in the 1980s why. The one pictured here is a little longer and or skinnier than I remember. They were nearly identical to a European honey bee except for a distinctive H or a single bar between two of the stripes making up the H. Maybe slightly thicker if you had a real bee side by side with one.

  2. […] posting, we realized that you have submitted other Syrphid Flies to us in the past, including a Eristalinus taeniops in January and a possible Copestylum marginatum in June.  Your photos are excellent, so please […]

  3. […] other beneficial pollinating insects and we hope you continue to send us documentation of the Syrphid Flies and other new species you encounter.  Allowing plants like cilantro and parsley to flower is a […]

  4. Annie says:

    I just saw one of these Serfid fly’s in my garden in Carlsbad, CA

  5. Douglas Pearce says:

    I live in Johannesburg, South Africa and photographed one of these flies for the first time this year.

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