Looks like a bumblebee with a fly bottom?
Location: Petawawa, Ontario
June 8, 2011 10:36 pm
When I found this lovely critter beside my pool, I thought it must be a half-drowned bumblebee as it’s about the same size and shape as a bumblebee. I poked it gently with a stick to see if it was alive,and it squirted something out of it’s rear end in a stream of what I figured was some sort of venom. (It got some distance with the spray, too, about 12 inches in a fine arc onto my lawn!)
I quickly got a bottle (and lid) from the house to carefully capture it and get a better look. It didn’t seem to have a mouth or a stinger, and had a fuzzy head but shiny bottom like a fly. Also, I noticed it didn’t have the same kind of wings as a bee. After I did some online searching and overcame the heebee jeebees, we got some clearer pics, this hefty fella was flushed down the toilet… just to be safe.
After you correctly identified our Luna Moth visitor, I knew exactly where to go for an answer on this one. Am I close with my guess that this is some type of botfly? It doesn’t have the red stripes on it’s eyes that I’ve seen from some other images, but the shape of the body and other features look familiar.
Signature: Anderson Family

Bot Fly

Dear Anderson Family,
We will leave the species identification to the experts, but you are absolutely correct in your guess that this is a Bot Fly in the genus
Cuterebra.  Of the species on bugGuide, out best guess would be Cuterebra emasculator, and there is a comment posted that includes this information:  “This is our only golden haired bot in the Northeast and this species can be found anywhere east of the Mississippi although rarely seen. It is primarily host specific in the Northeast on chipmunks, Tamias striatus.”

Location: Canada

4 Responses to Bot Fly

  1. ColeDean says:

    I have 3 bot flies that have taken up residence in my picnic table. It started a couple of years ago I noticed them flying around the table & in my garden feeding on the squash pollen. I took pictures as best I could. This year I discovered they had bored a hole in the bottom side of the table. It is made of clear heart redwood & the hole came up from underneath. It was about 1/2″ in dia. & extended abt. 8″ horizontally. 2 of the flies are black & 1 is golden. I have pictures if you can tell me how to send. Dean

  2. equalrights4parasites says:

    Dear Andersons,
    You found a chipmunk botfly, Cuterebra emasculator. The bots name is unfair, they don’t really emasculate their host (as was thought when named). I believe yours is a female, although a bit hard to tell from the pic. It could have been shooting off eggs when hassled. They can lay up to a thousand eggs per female. I would have loved this specimen. I am working on these bots as we speak. In the north these bots use chipmunks mostly as a host, and in the south they use grey squirrels. So these may be two subspecies. I am trying to look at dna to compare northern and southern emasculator specimens. They do buzz like a bee when held, and do look much like a bee, but only have 2 wings-bees 4. Nice detective work, only the rabbit bots have red in the eyes. So good job keying it on your own.

    Jeff Boettner
    Plant, Soil and Insect Sciences
    Amherst, MA


  3. equalrights4parasites says:

    Dear ColeDean,
    Bugman is correct. Yours are not bots, but carpenter bees. Bots do not have mouth parts and hence they don’t feed as adults, ie they can’t nectar. Bots also do not burrow into wood, but carpenter bees do. Bots do look a lot like them for sure, but bots only have 2 wings.

    Jeff Boettner

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