What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: A Fly Or A Bee?
Location: Torrance, California
July 24, 2014 9:49 am
Dear Bugman,
By the end of June of this year, we found a couple of these insects in our front yard. The bigger one was about one inch long. We live in Torrance, California, and have never seen them before. Could you help us to identify them?
Signature: Daniel.

Bee Killer:  Mallophora fautrix

Bee Killer: Mallophora fautrix

Dear Daniel,
This Robber Fly in the genus
Mallophora goes by the collective general name of Bee Killer.  Your particular Bee Killer is Mallophora fautrix, a species with no specific common name, but according to BugGuide, it is:  “The only one of its genus in California.”  As you can see from the images in our links, Bee Killers prey on large flying insects other than Bees, and it is a rare, top of the insect food chain predator that preys upon adult, stinging wasps.  Though you are not the discoverer of a new species, you can spearhead a campaign to nominate the only Bee Killer in California as the California Bee Killer, even though its range extends beyond our fair state.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Torrance, California

2 Responses to Bee Killer in Torrance, California

  1. Daniel says:

    Hi Daniel,

    Since the day the pictures were taken, we have seen more of these flies in our yard, and with the kids playing outside we were wondering if these insects were harmless. Thanks a lot for the information.


    • bugman says:

      Robber Flies are very wary predators, and it is unlikely the kids would be able to capture one, but if that happened and the Bee Killer was carelessly handled, a bite might occur. In our opinion, it is highly unlikely that a Bee Killer would bite a person of its own volition. They are interested in winged prey, not enormous bipeds.

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