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Bee Flies
Insect Order: Diptera > Family: Bombyliidae (Bee Flies)
There are over 4 500 different verified species of Bee Flies worldwide. Feeding on nectar and pollen they are pollinators of flowers. They get their scientific and common names from their resemblance to bumblebees.
VillaSp __
In the Pacific Northwest are members of the Genus Villa (above). Two other common Genus groups are Hemipenthes (below left) and Conophorus (below right).
Bee Flies may resemble bees, but they only have one pair of wings. The images below are of Bombylius major, described as large fuzzy flies with long legs, pictured wings and a long proboscis protruding from the head, which (as its name suggests) is used to probe for nectar while hovering at flowers. Their antennae are completely different from bees. Furthermore, they are fast, agile flyers with an ability to hover much like hover flies. As they hover, dart and with their accompanying high-pitched whine, you know they're not bees.
Bombylius Major  
Bombylius Major
The Bombylius major is one of the largest and best known species of Bee Flies, recognized with its stout, furry body and long, spindly legs. They can be brown, yellow or white. They come out early in the season so that they can eject their eggs in the open tunnels of solitary bees before they are sealed up. This happens when the female Solitary bee goes in search of more leaves or pollen. Then the Bombylius hovers at the opening of the burrow. While still hovering, she ejects an egg inside the tunnel.
Dereila Nature Inn Home > Woodlands Pathway > The Bug World > Articles and Trivia > Bee Flies
Learn more about beetles at the Inn's Bug Guide

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