Tiger Bee Fly (Xenox tigrinus)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Tiger Bee Fly, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 8/24/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
It may look like a black bumble bee or mosquito, but the Tiger Bee Fly is simply a large fly.
The widespread Tiger Bee Fly has a long proboscis that could make it easy to mistake for a mosquito. The large size and fuzzy body may lead one into thinking it is a bee. Alas, this exotic looking insect is a mere fly. It does not take blood meals or sting. In fact, the large wildly patterned adult drinks flower nectar with its proboscis. The black pattern on the otherwise transparent wings may have resembled tiger stripes enough to use the feline in its name. That name is the most menacing feature for the adult.
The larvae, however, are parasites and perhaps act more like its namesake. Female Tiger Bee Flies lay their fertilized eggs in the nest of Carpenter Bees. Carpenter Bee females usually bore perfectly round holes into wooden fence posts or beams to lay their eggs. The Tiger Bee Fly will visit these and, if eggs are already in them, it will add its own to the mix. The Tiger Bee Fly larvae will hatch and then consume the living Carpenter Bee larvae before they can mature enough to fly away.