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

Subject: Is this a bee?
Location: Ohio about 45 miles west from Pittsburgh PA
August 2, 2017 7:46 am
Hi we keep getting these and I think it’s a type of bee but not sure.
It hovers and buzzes really strangely and will even go silent then get really loud!
It can go from hovering to high speeds fast!
Thanks for your help,
Signature: Laura Evans

Good News Bee buzzes no more

Dear Laura,
This is a harmless Yellowjacket Hover Fly or Good News Bee.  We hope future encounters you have will not end with such Unnecessary Carnage.  As an aside, our editorial staff hails from Youngstown, Ohio, just west of Pittsburgh.

Thank you! We thought it was going to sting our dog… now I feel bad. So glad to know because we have had one around us everyday for the last 2 weeks and we will welcome them now! ❤

Thanks so much!
Our mission has always been to educate the web browsing public to have tolerance toward the lower beasts.  Perhaps you should buy a lottery ticket after your next encounter to see if the good luck part holds up.
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Predation
Location: Sussex County, NJ
July 31, 2017 8:44 am
I witnessed a square-headed wasp (Family Cabronidae, I believe) take down a large syrphid fly this morning and thought I’d share the photos. Also, wondering if you might be able to narrow down my ID on the wasp for me?
The attack was remarkably fast with the wasp landing on the fly and quickly subduing it. Eventually the wasp dropped the fly as it seemed that it was too large for the wasp to carry more than a very short distance. Interestingly, an hour later, the body of the syrphidae was gone – so did it recover or did something else come along and dispose of it? Fascinating.
Signature: Deborah Bifulco

Square-Headed Wasp and Drone Fly Prey

Dear Deborah,
Thanks for sending in your amazing images that are greatly enhanced by your written observations.  Speculate is the best we can do for the subsequent exploits of the Drone Fly, but we can be certain that it was alive after the encounter.  We would like to speculate that after that spectacular attack, the Square-Headed Wasp partially glided, and partially dragged her prey to her nest to serve as fresh meat for her developing brood.  Of the Square Headed Wasps in the subfamily Crabroninae, BugGuide states:  “Some nest in hollow stems or in abandoned galleries in wood, others burrow in the ground. Prey is mostly flies, but some utilize other insects.”  Exactly a year and two days ago, you submitted a very similar Food Chain image. that appears to be of the same species, both predator and prey, and at that time, we identified the genus as possibly
Ectemnius.  We will look into this more thoroughly.

Square-Headed Wasp and Drone Fly Prey

Hi Daniel,
Thanks so much for your very informative response!  And forgive my senior moment in forgetting the photo I sent to you last year.
I actually wondered if the wasp had just paralyzed the Drone Fly, or if it was dead.  But it certainly makes sense that it would be alive, especially as it would be a food source for the wasp-kids.  I have a small colony of Great Golden Diggers and frequently see them carrying very large katydids into their nests.
I have found with insects that the more I learn, the more I want to know.  J
Best,
Deborah

You are most welcome Deborah.  We can always depend upon you to send in great images.

Square-Headed Wasp and Drone Fly Prey

Square-Headed Wasp and Drone Fly Prey

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this bee?
Location: Sub alpine region of Colorado
July 23, 2017 6:56 am
Hey bugman!
I snapped this photo of a tiny bee about to land on a flower for nectar. I am in Boulder County, CO and this shot was taken at or above 10,000ft. It was mostly black and when it wasn’t zipping around, it would hover.
I’m stumped!
Signature: He with the Bee

Hover Fly

This is not a Bee.  This is a Hover Fly or Flower Fly in the family Syrphidae.  Many harmless members of the family Syrphidae are effective mimics of stinging bees and wasps.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bee fly of some sort?
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
July 21, 2017 8:12 pm
Found this guy on my deck in Anchorage, Alaska. He didn’t seem to be doing so well.
He doesn’t look like any sort of fly or bee I’ve seen around here.
Signature: Friend of Bees

Narcissus Bulb Fly

Dear Friend of Bees,
We verified the identity of your Narcissus Bulb Fly with this BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide:  “native to Europe, adventive and now widespread in North America (wherever daffodils (Narcissus spp. are grown), Japan, and Australasia” and “Larvae live in and feed upon plant bulbs; adults nectar widely.”

Narcissus Bulb Fly

Thank you very much. I don’t have narcissus bulbs, but my neighbors do. I’ll make sure she checks her bulbs this fall.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasp or vespa cadro
Location: Forest of Dean United Kingdom
July 18, 2017 11:23 pm
What’s this please
Signature: Haydee

Hornet Mimic Hover Fly

Dear Haydee,
This is neither, though it is a very effective mimic.  This is a Hover Fly in the family Syrphidae, and as you can see from the British Hoverflies site, many species are very effective mimics of stinging bees and wasps, which serves as an effective form of protective coloration for this harmless flies that are beneficial pollinators.  We believe your individual is a female (space between eyes)
Volucella zonaria based on images posted to British Hoverflies.  According to NatureSpot:  “This is a hornet mimic and is one of our largest and most spectacular hoverflies which can be recognised by its yellow and black banded abdomen. It is chestnut on tergite 2 and also on the scutellum and much of the thorasic dorsum.”  NatureSpot also states:  “This species became established in Britain in the 1940s and has very much a southerly distribution with most records coming from south of a line from the Severn Estuary to The Wash, however it seems to be expanding its range.”  iNaturalist calls it the Hornet Mimic Hoverfly.

Thank you so much I’ve had everyone guessing on social media.. Great to know so I can give feedback xx

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: A Half Transparent Fly?
Location: East Rounton, North Yorkshire, UK
July 17, 2017 11:18 am
Hello, Do you know what type of fly this is? I can’t find it on Google nor on your website.
It’s abdomen was half transparent and half black.
Signature: AG

Great Pied Hoverfly

Dear AG,
Based on images posted to Insects of Scotland, we are confident that this is a Great Pied Hoverfly,
Volucella pellucens.  The Insects of Scotland states:  “A very large shiny bumble bee-like  hoverfly with an unusual half black half white abdomen and black legs. The white stripe across its abdomen can be all white with just a hint of black in the middle … or the white can be dissected with a black line …. The wings are mainly clear, but each one has a dark patch on it. It lays its eggs inside the nests of wasps and bees where the larvae scavenge. “  It is also pictured on Nature Spot.

Thanks for writing back Daniel. I’m very impressed with your findings and appreciate the help you gave to me.
I learned something new today!
Thanks again
Andrew

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination