Black and yellow bug
Location:  Willis, Texas
August 2, 2010 6:48 pm
Beginning of August. Very hot. 50 miles north of Houston, Texas. This bug flew into our garage and my wife swatted it.

Yellowjacket Hover Fly swatted unnecessarily

Dear tom2087,
This is a Yellowjacket 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.  The adult Yellowjacket 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 the garden like parsley, dill and carrots.  You may read more about the Yellowjacket Hover Fly on BugGuide, including this tidbit gleaned from  “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.“  There is no mention of swatting a Yellowjacket Hover Fly to bring good luck.  The Yellowjacket Hover Fly is a benign insect that will not bite nor sting.  People often react to loudly buzzing insects by swatting them, and it is part of our mission to educate the public because many beneficial and benign insects are killed unnecessarily just because they are frightening looking and the person feels threatened, so we are archiving your letter and image in our Unnecessary Carnage section.

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16 Responses to Yellowjacket Hover Fly: "Good News Bee" brings no luck to swatter

  1. Linda foley says:

    A “good news bee” is of the fly family but it is not at all like these photos.
    It flies, buzzes, hovers, etc. just like a queen bee, not like any type of hornet. It is all medium brown from head to tail, including wings, no striping whatsoever.

    • bugman says:

      According to BugGuide, the insect pictured in the image in the posting, the Yellow Jacket Hover Fly, is: “In the south, sometimes called the ‘[good] news bee’ for its habit of hovering in front of a person ‘giving the news’.” If there is another insect that goes by this same name, please cite your sources and we will link to them.

    • shaconna thompson says:

      I had a good news bee just as the one pictured above hober around me for 7 days straight. And got some wonderful news just this week. $12,000 in student loan debt and I qualify for rehab program of just paying $50. Me being disabled with a daughter I do believe I have a new favorite insect.

  2. Jerry weaver says:

    We are these good news bees all the time here in Alabama. Just the past three weeks my wife and I have been cutting fire wood and there has been from one to three of these boys hanging with us where ever we go. No good news yet but we’re anxiously waiting. Don’t give up

  3. Julie Beck says:

    I need help with incect I can’t identify. It has huge black eyes right beside each other. It has a long body with fluffy black and yellow stripes like a honey bee. It hovers and watches everything I do even tries to follow me into my house. I’d appreciate any info about it.

    • Charlotte says:

      Probably a Carpenter Bumble Bee. They like to hover near people as a sort of bluffing threat but rarely actually do anything.

      • Mimi says:

        You can tell a bumble bee from a carpenter bee. Bumble bees have fuzzy/furry rear ends and a Carpenter bee’s rear is shiny like paten leather shoes. And bumble bees sting. A friend had a big pile of leaves added to over the years, decided to move it. She stuck her pitckfork into the pile and OMG she ran like the wind but suffered many stings.

  4. Mark Litteral says:

    after seeing the bee my honey bees mated with jarflys and now my honey tastes like shi-!…lol not

  5. Gloria Douglas says:

    We call them “miner bees” in North Carolina. Like a miner, these little buzzy bees work and live in numerous underground tunnels, often taking over old ant hills. They are beneficial to the soil/earth, and get curious when you invade their territory…hovering in front of, and around you, and wanting you to leave their area. They don’t sting or bite, and we’ve had so many, at times, that we could hear their buzzing when we walked outside.

  6. Tony T says:

    Here in the NE Georgia Mountains , the good news bee has also been called the study bee . Thats what it seems to do is study anything from us , to the stuff we have around . Always pleasant and a joy to have around . I feel like one is very reocorrant and we have rapport , I have nice things to say to it , and it shows off it’s high speed/pitched flying abililty .

  7. I heard that they will get rid of misquote ; as they eat the lave . do you know which one does this . as I do not see here where it does that ,, I was told good new bees got rid of mosquitoes .

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