Good News Bee is actually a Hover Fly

Subject: Insect Id
Location: Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Northeast Ohio
June 30, 2015 12:58 pm
Ok, folks, this isn’t the best image I’ve ever taken, but I still like it.
My only problem is that I have no idea what it is !!!
At first I thought it was a species of wasp; then, after some research, I thought it was some sort of Hover Fly, but it’s WAY too big for that…a GOOD inch to inch and a half in length; recently, I saw an image of a Cicada Killer that was similar, but…ONLY similar.
I’ve only seen one other just like it (and to be truthful, it may very well have been the same one…it flew past me in the exact same place the next summer.
I saw it near the Park Headquarters in The Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Northeast Ohio.
If anyone can help me with an Id I would appreciate it; I’ve been looking for it for close to 30 years.
Signature: Mike Davis-Mick’s Pix Photos

Hover Fly:  Good News Bee
Hover Fly: Good News Bee

Dear Mike,
You initially discounted that this was a Hover Fly because of its size, but it is in fact a Hover Fly,
Milesia virginiensis, a species commonly called a Yellow Jacket Hover Fly or Good News Bee.  According to the Bug Eric blog:  “At 18-28.5 millimeters in body length, and brightly colored in yellow, brown, and black, this fly could easily be mistaken for a European Hornet or queen yellowjacket. The ominous droning buzz it makes only heightens the visual mimicry. Some speculate that this species mimics the Southern Yellowjacket, Vespula squamosa. Indeed, Southern Yellowjackets were also active in the area, but the workers are substantially smaller than this fly. It is too early for the yellowjacket queens to be appearing, but they make for a better ‘model’ in both size and color pattern.  Milesia virginiensis figures in American folklore and superstition. It is still known in many hamlets as the ‘News Bee,’ for it will sometimes hover in front of a person, as if it were ‘giving them the news.’ It is also considered to be good luck if one of these flies alights on your finger. I was surprised that this particular individual allowed me a very close approach, so maybe it is not out of the realm of possibility than one of these insects could perch on a patient person.”

Thank you very much, Daniel. Very informative !! And, with your permission, I’d like to attach your answer to the image in my Fine Art America, and FB sites
Mike Davis

6 thoughts on “Good News Bee is actually a Hover Fly”

  1. I live in North Georgia I have a cottonwood tree that has a hive of good news bees should I be concerned it is close to my house and does it make honey

  2. A Good News” Bee just landed on the toe of my shoe. When I was 9 years old my mom told me about the “Good News” Bees bringing good news. She was right, everytime! Rex


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