Subject: Bee cricket situation?
Geographic location of the bug: Lake George NY
Time: 08:27 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: So we saw this scenario while on vacation in ny. I guess I just really want to know what’s going on here. It looks almost like they’re trying to mate, which is obviously not the case. I thought the bug underneath was a cricket, but I’m not positive. Anyway, they were on a busy stairwell, so I tried to move them out of the way with my room card. When I touched them, the bee LIFTED the cricket and started flying! They dropped a second later, but the bee lifted his (victim?) as high as my head. I was just wondering if anyone there might know what’s going on. I didn’t think bees attacked other insects like this. I LOVE your site btw and have to tell you that you are the reason I’ve gone from being terrified of insects, to now thinking they’re adorable and picking them up!
How you want your letter signed: KBH
Thanks for your kind words, and we are happy to learn our site has helped to alleviate your fear of many insects, though we caution you that many insects should not be handled due to the possibility of stings, bites, urticating hairs and chemical defenses that can cause skin reactions. We are thrilled with your dramatic Food Chain images, but your speculation about this being a Cricket and a Bee is quite wrong. Though not a Bee, the predator is a Bee-Like Robber Fly in the genus Laphria, and we felt up to the challenge of providing you with a species identification. The most frontal facing of your images shows the beard hair as well as the markings on the abdomen and the leg hairs, so we are very confident that your Bee-Like Robber Fly is Laphria thoracica which is pictured on BugGuide. According to Wisconsin Butterflies: “This species has a mainly black mystax with some scattered yellow hairs, and mainly black hairs surrounding the eyes. The thorax is yellow and the abdomen may have a variable amount of yellow hairs on abdominal segments two through four. The yellowish arc of hairs that extend from the anterior of the thorax to below the wing insert, make an obvious field mark that is useful in the field.” The lateral view you provided shows the “yellowish arc of hairs that extend from the anterior of the thorax to below the wing insert” confirming the species identification. Large Robber Flies are among the greatest aerial insect predators, and they frequently capture prey on the wing, including insects many times their size. The prey appears to be a Sawyer Beetle similar to this White Spotted Sawyer pictured on BugGuide.