Bee dining on yellowjacket?
Location: Los Angeles
October 12, 2010 1:22 am
Dear Bug People,
I had all kinds of activity in the garden this summer, mostly beneficial on the bug front.
This has to be my most interesting bug pic of the season. I’m calling it ”B2B”.
What’s going on here?
Signature: David Wolfberg
According to BugGuide, the “antennae with a very thin terminal final segment” indicate that this is a Robber Fly in the genus Mallophora, the Bee Killers. There are two species listed on BugGuide as ranging to in the southwest, M. leschenaulti and M. fautrix, but this looks like neither. We believe it looks like the Southern Bee Killer, Mallophora orcina, which BugGuide lists as living in the “Eastern United States: North Carolina (and further north?), west to Ohio, Missouri, south to Florida“, though the BugGuide Data page on the species indicates a sighting in Arizona. Our money is on the Southern Bee Killer, though if this is a range expansion or a stray is fodder for the experts.
Awesome, Daniel. We’re in Leimert Park. Did you see this shot of Mallophora fautrix from the bug guide? A commenter asserts the orcina won’t be in California (but really one doesn’t know any more):
I will check through the other shots I took to see if I can get a better view of the top pattern.
Also examining my photo on a larger monitor now, I believe the killer isn’t feeding on a yellow jacket but on my friendly neighborhood european paper wasp. The wasps have been this gardener’s best friend over the summer.
Thanks for the update David. Your specimen does seem to resemble the Mallophora fautrix that you linked to, but again, since the Southern Bee Killer is reported from Arizona, the Leimert Park neighborhood of Los Angeles is not an impossibility. We are, after all, a city of immigrants.