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It’s a bee! It’s a fly! It’s a bee fly!

beefly

Sorry about the crap picture, but I’ve been trying to get a shot of this screwy little bugger for two weeks. Uncle B and I have both seen him bumbling around the garden. I got one quick snap of him today and then there he was, gone.

He’s a funny little customer with a long, thin proboscis. Weird; like a tiny, hairy hummingbird (but no hummingbirds in England, alas). He hovers, he drinks nectar and he’s shy as a bastard if you try to get near him.

Turns out (thank you Google), he’s not a bee at all. He’s a fly that looks like a bee (probably to keep predators off). A bee fly, or bombyliid (thank you Wikipedia). Kind of an unpleasant piece of work, this — it’s a parasitoid, which means a parasite that always kills its host.

Bee flies lay their eggs in the nests or burrows of other insects, and the larvae eat the tenants. Yum!

I gather these things are kind of rare, so I should utup-shay about the ug-bay or we’ll probably have the conservation people on us.

sock it to me

April 20, 2009 — 7:49 pm
Comments: 16