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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is this a Bombus affinis?
Location: Massachusetts USA
August 11, 2017 7:18 am
Is this bumblebee feeding on a milkweed plant in Massachusetts a Bombus affinis?
Thankyou!!
Rob S
Signature: Rob

Possibly Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee

Dear Rob,
This does indeed look like a Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee, a species represented on BugGuide with sightings in the midwest, though BugGuide does state:  “MN to IN, plus a few remaining sites on east coast, see map per Xerces Society. Formerly Upper Midwest and Eastern North America: Ontario to New Brunswick, south to North Carolina. Historically known from more than 25 states.”  BugGuide also provides this sobering information:  “Declines of this species were first noted by John S. Ascher at Ithaca, New York, ca. 2001 when populations that were conspicuous in the late 1990s could not be located. At this and many other localities across its historic range affinis is no longer detected, but it has been shown to persist locally in the midwest and in New England.  Abrupt and severe declines of this and other bumble bee species in this subgenus were widely reported soon after development of the commercial bumble bee industry and detection of high rates of parasitism in managed colonies.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced (Sept. 21, 2016) that it is proposing to list the rusty patched bumble bee as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.”  According to the Xerces Society:  “The rusty patched bumble bee is a species of bumble bee native to eastern North America. Its’ workers and males have a small rust-colored patch on the middle of their second abdominal segment. This bee was once commonly distributed throughout the east and upper Midwest of the United States, but has declined from an estimated 87% of its historic range in recent years. The rusty-patched bumble bee was once an excellent pollinator of wildflowers, cranberries, and other important crops, including plum, apple, alfalfa and onion seed.  Responding to a petition filed by the Xerces Society in 2013 to list the rusty patched bumble bee as an endangered species under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) finalized the ruling and gave the rusty patched bumble bee endangered status under the ESA in January of 2017.”  If your identification and our confirmation are correct, you might want to report your significant Massachusetts sighting to the Bumble Bee Watch as recommended by the Xerces Society Citizen Science program.

Thank you very much Daniel!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Six Years ago today we originally posted this exciting submission.

Ed. Note:  February 21, 2014
It has just come to our attention that this is one of the rarest North American Robber Flies,
Dasylechia atrox, and more information can be found on BugGuide.

Carnivorous bumble bee?
Location: Royal Oak, MI
August 2, 2011 2:15 pm
We have a honey bee hive in our yard and have been very bug friendly. We have cicada killing wasps in our driveway and we just steer clear of them instead of filling it with concrete.
Imagine my shock when I was hanging laundry out and saw one of our honey bees having the life drained out of it by what appears to be a bumble bee. Is it?
Signature: Jessica

Rare Robber Fly: Dasylechia atrox eats Honey Bee

Hi Jessica,
We absolutely love your email, and we would like to wax poetically after we answer your question.  This is a Robber Fly.  It is one of two genera that both feed on large flying insects including bees and wasps that are captured on wing.  Robber Flies are amazing hunters.  They do not sting.  They will not attack you and bite you, but they might bite you if you tried to pick one up, though we could not imagine how you would ever be able to catch one.  We cannot, based on your photo, determine if this is a Bee Killer in the genus
Mallophora, or a Bee-Like Robber Fly in the genus Laphria.  One of the ways they can be distinguished from one another is the shape of the antennae.  Your specimen appears to have antennae that end in fine filaments, a sign it is a Mallophora, however, upon enlarging the photo to better examine the details, your photo is not of high enough resolution to maintain image quality.  Your individual does not have markings similar to any of the five species represented on BugGuide, which makes us wonder if it might not be a Laphria, and based on the photos posted to BugGuide, there are several species with markings similar to your individual.  They seem to all have yellow beards, and it is not possible to make out the beard on your Robber Fly, though we are not sure if the black hairs are lost in the shadow or if the tasty Honey Bee meal is obscuring the beard.

Robber Fly eats Honey Bee

TO BE CONTINUED …

August 3, 2011
Hi again Jessica,
We are positively enthralled by the way you set the tone for your question by providing us with your bug friendly qualifications.  We would like to take additional time to comment on your mention of Cicada Killers.  We have devoted considerable internet real estate on our site toward lobbying for the preservation of Cicada Killers, and when we receive post-mortem images of them, we tag them as unnecessary carnage, but the fact of the matter is that we have never had to share our homes and yards with them.  We really cannot claim to have experienced first hand the communal nesting habits of these large wasps.  We applaud you for your tolerance and also for inquiring about this Robber Fly.  Since we began working on this posting, we have received another unidentifiable image of a large Robber Fly feeding on a Japanese Beetle, and the person who submitted that image wants to know how to encourage more of them.  These large Robber Flies are reported to be able to consume large quantities of Honey Bees, and for that reason, they have a bad reputation among bee keepers.  Thanks again for your wonderful submission.  

Thank you so much for the information. We try not to have knee jerk reactions to what we find in the yard and as the cicada killers are nonaggressive unless you happen to be a cicada, there was no reason to destroy their habitat. It’s a short two month inconvenience of my daughters running to the door from the driveway while screaming.
As for the robber flies, they may be a bit of a bother as we are beekeepers. We have already lost one hive to varroa mites a couple of years ago and would rather not lose another one. Now that I think about it, we have spotted a few smaller species of robber flies in our yard. We have never had these insects in our yard before. Do you think the beehive may be attracting them? Is there any way to humanely deter them from eating my bees?

Hi again Jessica,
We have no advice regarding the deterring of Robber Flies.  The smaller Robber Flies are most likely not preying on your bees, and the larger Robber Flies will not enter the hive.  They will attack individual bees that are in flight.  Good Luck.

Ben Coulter says:
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: I can’t tell if it’s a bee?
Location: Seattle Region, Washington
August 1, 2017 5:00 pm
I found this bug already beheaded lying on my bathroom floor.
My first thought was that it was a bee, but the stripe pattern made me question it? I’ve never seen a bee before that only had yellow on its sides
Ive tried a lot of different google searches but I can’t seem to find what this is.
I don’t know about bug identification. But it’s head definitely doesn’t look like on of a fly to me? but it’s body doesn’t seem like the shape of a wasp? So I assume it must be a type of bee?
Im sorry that I don’t have any photos from different angles.
Signature: Sorry to bother you, but thank you so much for your help x

Body of a European Wool Carder Bee

This looks to us like the body of a European Wool Carder Bee.  Here is a BugGuide image for reference.  According to BugGuide:  “Introduced from Europe before 1963; spreading throughout NE. & W. NA.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bombus with long abdomen
Location: Wilmington NC
July 25, 2017 6:39 pm
7/23/2017 – Saw 5 of these on Cup Plant (silphium sp.) All had very extended abdomens. A friend on Facebook pollinator group suggested it may be Bombus Fraternus. If so, this is good news as I believe they are in a threatened status. Thanx in advance for your expert assistance.
Signature: Dave Hobbs

Southern Plains Bumble Bee

Dear Dave,
These images do indeed look like a Southern Plains Bumble Bee when compared to this BugGuide image, also taken in North Carolina.  According to BugGuide:  “Has disappeared from the northern margins of its range, with few or no records from the northernmost states where recorded historically, but still regularly encountered in its core range on the southern Great Plains, and still found in the Southeastern United States.”  This species, as you indicated, is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List.  Congratulations on your awesome sighting and thanks so much for sending in your images with the identification.

Southern Plains Bumble Bee

Thank you for your response. Your staff is amazing.

Southern Plains Bumble Bee

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this?
Location: Folsom, California
July 19, 2017 6:24 am
What is this big and what does it do?
Signature: Cindy

Male Valley Carpenter Bee

Dear Cindy,
This is a male Valley Carpenter Bee, and we suppose his main purpose in life is to mate with a sexually dimorphic, black, female Valley Carpenter Bee.  While awaiting that opportunity, he will also pollinate flowers.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Help!!!
Location: Miami, FL
July 14, 2017 8:08 pm
I have these bees in a crevice under a window ledge outside that is about 1.5 feet off the ground. The bees have been there since about beginning of June and fly around all day near the front door. I think they are honey bees. I’m not sure. I sprayed it crevice tonight with a foaming pesticide and a little while later I found a total of 4 over the course of two hours flying inside the house!
Signature: I bee worried

Honey Bee

Dear I bee worried,
This is indeed a dead Honey Bee.  Wild Honey Bees often form a new hive in protected areas of homes.  If you have a Honey Bee hive under your window ledge, you are not going to solve the problem with foaming pesticide.  You should contact a local bee keeper who will come and remove the hive.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination