We came across this bee while hiking on Cougar Mountain near Newcastle, WA. I must have upset it somehow as it swarmed me, flying around my head and finally landing on my leg. Luckily my keys were in my pocket where it landed, so I’m not sure if it tried to sting at that moment or not. I was able to shush it away so it landed on a nearby bench. I took a close photo so I could try to identify this guy when I got home but have been finding it very hard to do so by looking at many sites including yours. Please help me out. It looked really mad and, from the looks of its backend, I’m really glad it didn’t sting me.
~Mark in Tacoma, WA
This is not a Bee, but a Robber Fly in the family Asilidae. We don’t immediately recognize your species, and we cannot at the moment research this more thoroughly, but you may have luck researching the BugGuide archives. It is also possible one of our readers will provide the answer. Flies don’t sting, they bite.
Thank you for the clarification. I researched it more and found it most likely to be a Laphria thoracica. I appreciate the help in identifying this species of fly.
Hi again Mark,
We believe you have the genus correct, but this looks more to us like a male Laphria astur, also pictured on BugGuide. All the photos on BugGuide are collected specimens, so it is wonderful to have a photo of a living example. Collectively, the Laphria species are known as the Bee-Like Robber Flies.