Subject: Potential Carpenter Bee Robber Fly
Geographic location of the bug: Austin, Texas 78757
Time: 04:05 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: I took pictures of two of these very large black bees/flies this morning. I noticed them when refilling a water saucer in a shady woodland setting. Is this a beneficial creature for my certified wildlife habitat, or should I be worried for wood damage in the area?
How you want your letter signed: Curious Kat
Dear Curious Kat,
This is definitely a predatory Robber Fly and not a Bee. The white “cheeks” and yellow band on the abdomen are good indications this is a Belzebul Bee-Eater, Mallophora leschenaulti, which is pictured on BugGuide. According to BugGuide: “has been reported to attack and kill hummingbirds” but we suspect that is a very rare occurrence. In our opinion, though they are known to prey on Bees, the Belzebul Bee-Eater would be a beneficial creature in your certified wildlife habitat as it is a native species.