Subject: flies? bees?
Location: central Wisconsin
July 11, 2012 8:39 pm
At first I thought they were bees, many of them going from flower to flower. But faster, and more skittish. They look like flies, but what flies go to flowers?
Signature: mkeen3

Tachinid Fly

Dear mkeen3,
This is a Tachinid Fly, but we cannot be certain of the species because it is a very large family and many members of the family look similar.  Your individual looks very much like this Tachinid Fly image we posted earlier in the week.  Tachinid Flies are very important components in the food chain.  They are parasitic flies that often target a single host in the insect and arthropod world.  Many Tachinid Flies prey upon caterpillars and true bugs.  It is the larva that is the carnivore and the female Tachinid Fly lays an egg on the host creature.  The egg hatches and the larva begins to feed on the internal tissues of the host, eating it alive, eventually killing it.  Many adult Tachinid Flies are pollinators that feed on nectar and pollen from blossoms, but Tachinid Flies are not the only Flies that go to flowers.  Bee Flies, Hover Flies and Small Headed Flies are just a few of the families of flies that are important pollinators.  You may have heard the old saying “You can attract more flies with honey than with vinegar” though sometimes “vinegar” is replaced with the more colorful slang term for excrement.  Honey is nothing but the nectar of flowers that is gathered by bees.  So to answer your question, many flies go to flowers.

Location: Wisconsin

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