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

Subject:  Bee-like Robber Fly
Geographic location of the bug:  Mid-Michigan
Date: 07/04/2019
Time: 09:05 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I loved your recent post of a bee-like Robber Fly preying on a Sawyer Beetle, which I have shared on social media. Here is a pic of a very friendly Robber Fly that’s been hanging around our deck the past week. At first I thought it was a deformed bumblebee until I got the attached photo and noticed the eyes, legs, and especially that wicked looking mouthparts was different than a bee. This insect often perches on us or on our furniture, although I’m a bit concerned of accidentally placing a hand down on top of him.
How you want your letter signed:  Mike

Bee-Like Robber Fly: Laphria thoracica

Dear Mike,
Thanks for your kind words.  We believe your Bee-Like Robber Fly might also be 
Laphria thoracica because of the abdominal markings and the dark hairs on the face.  Your image is stunningly beautiful with exceptional detail, especially the wing veinage.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Bee cricket situation?
Geographic location of the bug:  Lake George NY
Date: 07/01/2019
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!
Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  KBH

Bee-Like Robber Fly eats Sawyer

Dear 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.

Bee-Like Robber Fly eats Sawyer

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Unidentifiable Bug
Geographic location of the bug:  South Central PA
Date: 06/29/2019
Time: 08:31 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  No one seems to know what this bug is.
How you want your letter signed:  Mary Brady

Unknown Robber Fly

Dear Mary,
This is a predatory Robber Fly in the family Asilidae, and we thought it would be much easier to provide you with a species identification, but we are still uncertain regarding its identity.  It reminds us very much of  
Microstylum morosum which is pictured on BugGuide, but that species is only reported as far east as Missouri on BugGuide.  We will continue to research this matter.  How large was this individual?

Eric Eaton responds after we ask his input.
Daniel:
I got nothin’, sorry.  I would agree with your initial diagnosis, though.  I wonder if there is more to the story?
Eric

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Don’t know what this bug is
Geographic location of the bug:  Central Florida
Date: 06/19/2019
Time: 12:32 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Just really curious as to what this bug is. Couldn’t find anything online
How you want your letter signed:  Ty

Hanging Thief

Dear Ty,
This is a Robber Fly in the genus
Diogmites, commonly called a Hanging Thief because this predator often hangs from one leg while eating its prey.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Super Close ups of Robber Fly
Geographic location of the bug:  Ellijay, GA
Date: 06/11/2019
Time: 08:23 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My son excitedly for this guy and we Scored some great shots of this guy June 10, 2019.  He didn’t seem to mind that I was interrupting his dinner. Would love to know the species.
Enjoy!
How you want your letter signed:  Melissa

Beelike Robber Fly eats Japanese Beetle

Dear Melissa,
Your son’s images are wonderful and an excellent addition to our Food Chain tag.  This is a Beelike Robber Fly in the genus
Laphria, and it is feeding on an invasive, exotic Japanese Beetle, the scourge of many gardeners.  Because of the yellow hairs on the abdomen and legs, and because of your location, we believe this is Laphria macquarti based on this BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide:  “Seems to prefer small beetles, but would eat other insects, even other robber flies” which further supports our tentative identification.

Beelike Robber Fly eats Japanese Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Be? Fly?
Geographic location of the bug:  Oroville California
Date: 04/30/2019
Time: 08:36 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What is this insect? Bug? I found this on my bush today.
How you want your letter signed:  Sharry

Bee-LIke Robber Fly

Dear Sharry,
This is a Bee-Like Robber Fly in the genus
Laphria, and there are two similar looking species found in California.  We believe you encountered Laphria sackeni which is pictured on BugGuide and which flies from April to July, though we would not rule out that it might be the similar looking Laphria astur, which is also pictured on BugGuide and which has a similar flight season.

Hi Daniel, thank you so much for identifying the robber fly. I noticed it on my white  flowering Oleander  bush today.  From a distance I thought it was a black bumble bee, a small one. However when I got closer to take a picture of it  it was obviously not a black bumble bee . It has kind of a cute face  but very strange-looking .
Why do they call it the robber fly?
Hello again Sharry,
Robber Flies are predators in the family Asilidae, and according to BugGuide, they are also known as Assassin Flies, which might be a more appropriate common name.  Both common names probably arise from their stealth hunting tactics.  The etymological origin of the name Robber Fly is uncertain, however, they are not really robbing anything except perhaps robbing its prey of life.  According to Galveston County Master Gardeners site:  “Robber flies are among the few insects that catch their prey in mid-flight. An individual establishes a perch zone. From there, it swoops out to snatch the unsuspecting victim that is often larger than its aggressor and may even include spiders, large predatory insects, and, sometimes, other robber flies.”
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination