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9181 Views 4 Replies Last post: May 2, 2011 1:40 PM by OneTreeHouse RSS
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Apr 6, 2011 8:45 PM

Can you identify this bee(?) with a long proboscis

Strangely, I think this may be  the same insect as that posted by paul less than a minute ago. There have been two of these in my garden for the last week. They have a high-pitched buzz but don't seem to land on any flowers - they just hover over the patio most of the time.


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    Apr 24, 2013 2:10 PM (in response to gardener)
    Re: Can you identify this bee(?) with a long proboscis



    That's an interesting photo. To me it looks like a Dotted Bee-fly (Bombylius discolor), less common than the Large Bee-fly (Bombylius major). You can tell it’s a B. discolor by its darker brown end of abdomen, as seen in this photo. You can also compare the two species in these side-by-side photos here and here, although in your photo you can’t see the main character to make an ID – the wing pattern, because it's taken in flight. Body colour should suffice.


    I hope this helps. Thanks for sharing this.



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      • Aha - you have been reading up. These are not strictly parasites, rather cleptoparasites as the larvae of the bee-flies 'steal' the provinder (a paste made of nectar and honey) that has been stored for the bees larvae. The bees they steal from are solitary bee species (of which there are over 250 UK species) not honeybees or bumblebees. Diversity in nature often arises from one species exploiting another in such ways and in this case there is unlikely to be an adverse effect on the populations of the host species. So the bee population (just over 280 species in the UK - mostly solitary species) is safe, albeit a little exploited - but that's' life, even for bees
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  • Aha! So this is what I have just found. Mystery solved.
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