Location: Jaffery, NH, White Arrow Trail, Mt. Monadnock
July 4, 2011 10:50 pm
My cousin and I were walking down an access road from the main path (White Arrow Path) at Mt Monadnock, in Jaffery NH,
When we spotted a bee, just hovering there.
We walked past the bee, and it did not move, using quite a bit of energy to stand in one spot constantly. So we walked on, and there was another one, facing the SAME direction and hovering, this time I approached it and it moved in a triangle pattern and went back to the same spot, exactly the same spot, only this time its abdomen throbbed and a stinger emerged. At that point we moved on.
Then we saw a third, then fourth…
I took a photo by the 7th one, they were in 20 or so foot intervals all the way down the path, all facing the same direction and very determined to stay in their one by one inch spot at a specific height, very calculated seeming spot in the air.
What kind of bee is this and what could it possibly be up to staying in one spot for this long, and this specific to that ONE one inch cube of airspace???
Signature: -Vaughn Saball
This is not a bee, but rather it is a Hover Fly in the family Syrphidae. Many Hover Flies mimic bees for protection. The behavior you described is very interesting. We hope we are able to research a species name for you. Alas, the photo you provided is an excellent action photo, but it doesn’t provide us with a view of the markings which may make species identification quite difficult. Meanwhile, you can read some general information on Hover Flies on BugGuide. We did locate this scholarly article published by the Cambridge Entomological Club in 1929 entitled
Notes on the Syrphidae Collected at Jaffrey and Mount Monadnock, N.H., with a Description of a New Species by C. W. Johnson.