Bee Flies (Bombyliidae)
Types of Bees
Types of Flies
Types of Insects
The fuzzy bodies of bee flies (family Bombyliidae) explains their nickname.
Their resemblance to bees and/or wasps extends to some bee and wasp habits. For example, like bees, many Bombyliidae are natural pollinators that nectar on flowers.
Turning the tables on their physically similar counterparts, Bombyliidae larvae are parasitic on a variety of bee and wasp species.
However, unlike bees and wasps, Bombyliidae are not stinging or biting insects.
With approximately eight hundred North American species, Bombyliidae represent a fairly robust family that divides into multiple subfamilies and genera.
The top picture shows a member of the Bombylius genus, perhaps Bombylius major, the greater bee fly.
The fuzzy bee like body and sword-like proboscis represent the typical bee fly image.
The thin body of Thevenetimyia species distinguishes them from many of the round, buzzy, bee looking Bombyliidae species.
The approximately twenty different Thevenetimyia species can be found in many areas of western North America.
The picture shows a species enlarged by a factor of at least two, in order to highlight the body details. In person they appear as smallish flies.
A few different bee fly genera have species with golden bodies.
The body color, along with the wing pattern provides clues to tentatively place the species in the third picture the Paravilla genus.
© 2007-2011 Patricia A. Michaels