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  • Black-Tailed Bee Fly - (Bombylius major)

    Black-Tailed Bee Fly - (Bombylius major)

    The Black-Tailed Bee Fly is a fine mimic for a fuzzy bee. The disguise offers it time to leisurely visit flowers and drink the nectar undisturbed.

    Picture of Black-Tailed Bee Fly
    Staff Writer (8/28/2014): The Black-Tailed Bee Fly is a fuzzy, hovering, buzzing look-a-like to a bumble bee. The long proboscis ('tongue'), however quickly gives away its true identity. Bee Flies also have long, thin legs that lack pollen baskets and fuzzy legs typically found on the hind legs of honeybees and bumble bees, respectively. Adults drink flower nectar and are fond of lilac and plum flowers. Larvae have a more nefarious diet.

    Female Black-Tailed Bee Flies lay their fertilized eggs in the ground nests of certain solitary bee species. The Black-Tailed Bee Fly larvae hatch and eat the larvae of the resident bees, making them parasites. Once they eat the competition, they go on to eat any food stores left by their mother. They will then pupate in that nest and eventually emerge as adults in the summer.

    This species is most active in the summer on sunny days. They can be found in open fields, back yards and park, either resting on plants or buzzing over blossoms. They are able to hover over the flowers they drink from, much like a hummingbird. Males will often hover over flowers while waiting for a female to pass by. Males then dart after the female in the hope of mating with her. While observers can get close, the Black-Tailed Bee Fly is quite aware of its surroundings and can bolt away so quickly, they are difficult to catch.

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    Details of the:
    Black-Tailed Bee Fly

    Category: Fly or Mosquito
    Common name: Black-Tailed Bee Fly
    Scientific Name: Bombylius major

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Diptera
          Family: Bombylidae
           Genus: Bombylius
            Species: major

    Size (Adult, Length): 12mm to 16mm (0.47in to 0.63in)

    Identifying Colors: yellow, black, white, brown

    Additional Descriptors: fuzzy, bumble, hairy, flying, tongue, legs, hover

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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