Syrphid Fly

Bee Fly or Kanye West Imitator?
January 26, 2010
Hi Daniel,
Here I am again with a bug I can’t identify. My first thought is that is was a bee, but maybe it’s a bee fly instead? It didn’t hover around between flowers like a regular honey bee, and when it left the plant, it flew fast and straight right past my ear. I didn’t notice a bee’s buzz when this happened. Any ideas?
Thanks, Anna
Hawthorne, California

Syrphid Fly

Hi Anna,
Though it very closely mimics a Honey Bee, your fly, Eristalinus taeniops, is actually a Syrphid Fly in the family Syrphidae.  Syrphid Flies are also known as Flower Flies or Hover Flies.  According to BugGuide, your Syrphid Fly has only been reported from California.

Syrphid Fly

As usual, thank you so very much.  I did look around at and at and didn’t find anything.  Glad to know that I’m getting better at figuring out the difference between bees and their imitating fly counterparts.

4 thoughts on “Syrphid Fly”

  1. Growing up just east of Mission Bay, San Diego California in the 1960s, we would catch these things we called “H bees” with our bare hands, they never stung and I found out in the 1980s why. The one pictured here is a little longer and or skinnier than I remember. They were nearly identical to a European honey bee except for a distinctive H or a single bar between two of the stripes making up the H. Maybe slightly thicker if you had a real bee side by side with one.


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