Currently viewing the category: "Flies"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Large fly
Geographic location of the bug:  Ontario, Can.
Date: 09/23/2017
Time: 03:56 PM EDT
Too hot to fly? Feels like 100F here today.
How you want your letter signed:  Del

Tiger Bee Fly

Dear Del,
This is a Tiger Bee Fly, a harmless pollinator.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What type of fly is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Los Angeles, California
Date: 09/19/2017
Time: 11:28 PM EDT
Hello, Bugman
Can you tell me what type of fly this is? Luckily it stayed on my hand long enough for me to take a somewhat clear image. I found this near my garden in Los Angeles.
How you want your letter signed:  Nancy

Mediterranean Fruit Fly

Dear Nancy,
Were you in Los Angeles in the 1980s?  This is a Mediterranean Fruit Fly, the dreaded Med Fly that caused so many millions of dollars to be spent on aerial spraying of malathion with helicopters.  We identified your Med Fly thanks to images posted to BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “One of the world’s most destructive fruit pests, and the most economically important fruit fly species. Each infestation detected in FL and CA triggered massive eradication and detection effort. In CA, large numbers of sterile males are released and are not uncommon in some places. A female would be a sign of an infestation, and should be reported immediately. Females have a visible ovipositor on the rear tip of the abdomen and lack the ornamented hairs on the male head.”  We do not see an ovipositor and it appears your individual has hairs on the head, so we suspect it is a male.  Though it is not identified as a female, this BugGuide image appears to be of a female.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Short wasp? Weird bee? Sawfly? Just what is this guy?
Geographic location of the bug:  La Jolla, California
Date: 09/19/2017
Time: 06:10 PM EDT
Hello there. I was wondering if you could identify this insect? I am terribly afraid of bees and wasps, so when I took a glance at it after stepping out of my mother’s car (about 6 meters away), I was in a hurry to get away from it. Upon closer inspection, my mother insisted it looked more like a moth than a bee (I have to disagree, but the wings do have peculiar patterns that bees, wasps, and the like usually don’t have, so I guess I could see it.)
It certainly did not fly like a butterfly- it hovered much like a bee or wasp would when it would fly, which is why I thought it was one until I saw the pictures she took.
This fellow was attracted to some yellow flowers we have right outside of our house, (the kind of flower is featured in one picture of the bug) if that means anything at all. Yet again, bees and butterflies also tend to hang out there, so I guess that’s nothing really important, although it lets you know this guy’s a pollinator.
Anyways, if you could help me identify this bug I would so much appreciate it. I’ve tried looking everywhere to find his species and have had no luck.
Thank you kindly.
How you want your letter signed:  T.H.

Bee Fly

Dear T.H.,
Mistaking this Bee Fly in the family Bombyliidae for a bee is quite understandable.  It is quite a beautiful Bee Fly and we suspect it is the same species that visited the offices of What’s That Bug? this weekend in the Mount Washington neighborhood of Los Angeles, but alas, we were unable to get an image of it before it flew away.  We have identified it as
Poecilanthrax arethusa thanks to the Natural History of Orange County site.  Unfortunately, other than providing a range, BugGuide does not have any species specific information on this gorgeous, and perfectly harmless, Bee Fly, but the genus page does credit D. Yeates with the revelation “Endoparasitoids of Noctuidae pupae.”  We followed the provided link to ResearchGate where it states:  “The recorded host range of Bombyliidae spans seven insect Orders and the Araneae; almost half of all records are from bees and wasps (Hymenoptera). No Bombyliidae have evolved structures to inject eggs directly into the host as is the case in many hymenopterous parasitoids. Bombyliid larvae usually exhibit hypermetamorphosis, and contact their host while it is in the larval stage. Bee fly larvae consume the host when it is in a quiescent stage such as the mature larva, prepupa or pupa.”  The indicated hosts, the pupae of moths in the family Noctuidae, generally pupate underground.  INaturalist has numerous Southern California sightings.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Fly identification
Geographic location of the bug:  Idaho
Date: 09/15/2017
Time: 11:16 PM EDT
Dear Mr. Bugman,
I took a photo of a large, mostly black fly with two white dots on the rear part of its abdomen. I have only found the fly outside once. All other flies inside my house are plain black with no white dots. I have attempted to find the type of fly online but with no luck so far. If you know what type it is I’d be very interested to hear. Thank you for your time and help!
How you want your letter signed:  Sincerely, Sarah

Tachinid Fly

Dear Sarah,
This is a parasitoid Tachinid Fly, and according to BugGuide, there are  “1350 spp. in >300 genera of 4 subfamilies in our area [North America].”  We quickly scanned BugGuide down to the tribe level and could not locate this particular species.  Tachinid Flies are important biological control agents against other insects and arthropods, and according to BugGuide:  “Larval stages are parasitoids of other arthropods; hosts include members of 11 insect orders, centipedes, spiders, and scorpions. Some tachinids are very host-specific, others parasitize a wide variety of hosts. The most common hosts are caterpillars. Most tachinids deposit their eggs directly on the body of their host, and it is not uncommon to see caterpillars with several tachinid eggs on them. Upon hatching the larva usually burrows into its host and feeds internally. Full-grown larva leaves the host and pupates nearby.”  If time permits, we will try to identify your Tachinid Fly to the species level, but now you also know where to do the research.  If you find a visual match, please let us know.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  ID help please?
Geographic location of the bug:  Chicopee, MA
Date: 09/13/2017
Time: 09:40 PM EDT
Hi there,
I have looked around the internet, as well as posted to various Facebook pages. Some guesses were made, however nothing concrete, so I’m turning to the bugman…. Oh, & this was taken 9/12/17.
How you want your letter signed:  Thank you, Kristi

Bee Fly

Dear Kristi,
We are certain this is a Bee Fly in the family Bombyliidae, but we are not certain of the genus or species.  Right now, we believe it is a member of the tribe Villini which is well represented on BugGuide, and when time permits, we will attempt a more specific identification based on your location, and this critter’s wing markings and veination.

 Anthracinae » Villini » Rhynchanthrax – ?
Thank you! You got me far enough that I believe I may have got the rest. If you find I am incorrect, please lemme know.

We don’t think so.  Though it looks similar, based on BugGuide data, that is a western genus.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Cross between a wasp and dragonfly
Geographic location of the bug:  Maryland
Date: 09/12/2017
Time: 12:02 AM EDT
Any ideas? Some are calling this a cicada killer but those look MUCH more like wasps…this has a more dragonfly like tail but appears to only have two wings..
How you want your letter signed —
Chris in Md

Giant Robber Fly

Dear Chris,
This is a predatory Robber Fly, and you were astute to observe that it has a single pair of wings.  We believe it is a Giant Robber Fly in the genus
Promachus which is well represented on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination