Subject: what kind of flying bug is this?
Location: massachusetts, USA
July 23, 2015 12:18 pm
it was flying around my room and had a very loud buzz.
Signature: tim

Robber Fly Carnage

Robber Fly Carnage

Dear Tim,
This is a harmless, beneficial, predatory Robber Fly, and it will obviously buzz no more.  In an effort to educate our readership on the harmlessness of most insects, we are tagging this posting as Unnecessary Carnage  In the future, if you are able to trap an unwanted bug indoors in a glass, you can slip a postcard over the opening and relocate the critter outside.

Thank you for telling me what the bug was. I killed the insect because i saw the huge tail it had. It looked like a stinger that could do some damage. I don’t love killing anything, but i wasn’t going to take the chance to get a sting or a bite from a potentially poisonous insect.
I did read they can bite humans. They also have a toxic saliva that liquifies their prey.
Sometime i do catch the insects and let them outside. I wasnt going to take a chance with this unknown bug with a baby in the house though. Hopefully you understand.

Dear Tim,
Your explanation is fully understandable.  What you mistook for a stinger is actually the ovipositor of the female, an organ used to lay eggs, and interestingly,  in wasps, bees and some ants, the ovipositor has evolved into a stinger.  We imagine the bite of a Robber Fly might have some unpleasant side effects, but we have never received a report of a person being bitten by one, nor have we heard of anyone who tried to handle a Robber Fly, which we imagine might result in a bite.

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Location: Massachusetts

4 Responses to Robber Fly Carnage

  1. They’re kind of cute (those legs & feet!) and a little creepy-looking. Good to know they’re beneficial.

  2. Mandy Tallant says:

    I found this article while searching for what type of bug had stung me. It was a robber fly. I was swimming laps in my pool and felt a sting on my ear. I had someone check my ear to make sure there was nothing on it. It started stinging again & when I had someone look again, the robber fly was in my hair. It hurt like crazy and immediately started swelling up. So apparently they do sting and I can tell you it wasn’t pleasant!

    • bugman says:

      Robber Flies do not have stingers, so they are incapable of stinging. It is possible you were bitten by a Robber Fly.

  3. Jonathan Cornelius says:

    I was bitten by one in the middle of the night at the base of my skull.l have no idea how long it was sucking on me but it hurt enough to wake me from a dead sleep. It took only a matter of seconds from when I woke until my body started going numb starting at the bite site. The numbness only lasted a matter of minutes but I had a few side effects, mainly lethargy.

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