Subject: Bee Fly? Laphria thoracica?
Geographic location of the bug: Carlsbad, NM
Time: 10:40 PM EDT
This guy (or gal) was hanging out on our screen door in early August of this year. He didn’t seem to mind when we went in or out, and he didn’t mind being photographed. Eventually, he flew away. He looked like a bee crossed with a big fly. We don’t recall seeing such a colorful one before. We searched your site and a few others on the internet. We think he looks like some of the Laphria Thoracica on Bug Guide but not exactly. We were hoping you might know. Thanks for all the time and hard work you put into your site.
How you want your letter signed: Curious
This is a Robber Fly, not a Bee Fly, and you do not have the genus correct. It is NOT Laphria thoracica, as that species has a yellow thorax based on BugGuide images, and your individual has a black thorax. In our opinion, this is a member of a different genus of Robber Flies. We believe it is a Bee Killer, Mallophora fautrix, a species pictured on BugGuide can be distinguished from the previous genus and described on BugGuide as “Large, fuzzy, bee-mimicking robber flies. Resemble Laphria, another genus of robbers that mimic bumblebees, but is even hairier and has antennae with a very thin terminal final segment, whereas Laphria has thick antennae.”