Subject: Is this a Bumble Bee?
Location: Central New Hampshire
July 20, 2013 4:28 pm
Black and white markings, about the size of a Bumble Bee. Have never seen a bee
quite like this. It was very near a DogWood Tree in our yard.
It is easy to mistake this Bot Fly for a Bumble Bee. Bot Flies are true flies and they are parasitic in the larval form, and according to BugGuide: “The larvae are subcutaneous (under the skin) parasites of the host. Their presence is easily detected as a tumor-like bulge, often in the throat or neck or flanks of the host. The larvae breathe by everting the anal spiracles out a hole (so they are oriented head-down inside the host). They feed on the flesh of the host, but only rarely does the host die as a result.” We are going to copy Jeff Boettner in our response in the hope that he can identify the species of Bot Fly you have photographed.
Hi Daniel and Psquare,
Your bot fly is a Cuterebra fontinella fontinella bot. This bot is a parasite of white footed mice, Peromyscus leucopus. Its a little hard to see the key features (a side view is helpful) but there are only a handful of bots in NH and this is the most common bot in your area. The other bots have either red eyes (rabbit bots) or more white or yellow on their backs. So I am confident of this ID. By the distance between the eyes, this one is a female.
Thanks for the post.