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Not a Bee

By April 14, 2010

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I heard from Iris, a wildlife photographer, this past week. Iris informed me that this photo, which she discovered pictured in my animal totem galley representing the bee totem is not a bee.

Iris said "... the picture of the 'Bee Totem' is actually a horse-fly.... not a bee... sorry just thought I should point that out. Easy mistake to make they do look very alike."
After reading what Iris said I gave a holler to my husband who is a retired life science teacher. I asked him to come and take a look at the photo on my computer screen. He immediately agreed with Iris that it is not a bee saying "the antennae are too short" for a bee. But, he wasn't so sure she was right about it being a horsefly. We both thought horseflies were black and not striped. At any rate, I have now switched out this photo in my gallery, replacing it with a picture of an actual bee. Meanwhile I'd really like to know if the insect pictured here is actually a horsefly. Probably so, because I have since learned there are more than 3,000 varieties of horseflies including a greenhead horsefly, striped horsefly, and black horsefly (Buzzle.com). Another question I have is: What would a carnivorous horsefly be doing on a flower anyway? Also, check out this freaking horsefly photo!

Thanks Iris for pointing out my mistake in identifying this insect as a bee.

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April 14, 2010 at 2:33 am
(1) SquirrelQueen says:

Nice shot, love the flower and the fly.

It is neither a bee nor a horsefly. What you have pictured is an American Hover Fly. They are very beneficial insects as their larva help eliminate insects (aphids for example) that attack commercial crops and ornamental plants. Adult American Hover Flies drink nectar from flowers.

I love the picture of the “horse” fly!! Too funny.

April 14, 2010 at 11:45 am
(2) Potter Beth says:

Um, is a bee by any other name as filled with pollen? Apparent;y not! ;)

April 14, 2010 at 5:00 pm
(3) Nancy says:

Very interesting! Who knew there were so many masqueraders out there?

April 14, 2010 at 8:15 pm
(4) Sukhmandir Kaur says:

This is a case for Debbie the guide to insects. It is interesting with those stripes i would have guessed a kind of yellow jacket but the eyes and wings do rather look like a fly… Just as long as I don’t get trapped in a microwave DNA scrambling kind of machine with one LOL I hate to end up looking anything like that horsefly ;)

April 14, 2010 at 9:00 pm
(5) Debbie says:

It is, indeed, a hover fly. The best way to distinguish actual bees from flies that are bee mimics (and there are quite a lot of bee mimic flies) is to count the wings. All true flies have just two wings; bees always have four wings (two pairs).

April 14, 2010 at 10:29 pm
(6) Stan says:

Bee or horsefly, it’s still a nice picture. What they have in common is pain – a horesfly’s bite hurts just about as much as a bee’s sting. I speak from experience.

April 14, 2010 at 11:28 pm
(7) Barbara O'Brien says:

I would have said it was a sweat bee (smaller than a honey bee), but Debbie is the expert. Apparently hover flies and sweat bees are often confused. Horseflies I have seen are much bigger and of duller, darker color.

April 21, 2010 at 12:26 pm
(8) Lisa T. says:

It looks like a bee…perhaps a drone? We have a hive at our house right now, and I’ve been stung twice in the past week. This certainly looks like a bee. The bee guy who is removing them (not exterminating) for us showed us the difference btw bees and drones…we have tons of drones on our driveway and bee poo on our cars. He told us about bee therapy and how it builds up your immune system. I’m betting you know something about this???

July 16, 2012 at 7:49 am
(9) Katelyn says:

Well to answer your question. ” What would a carnivorous horsefly be doing on a flower anyway?” male horse flies do not have the right mouth part for biting or tearing into skin. They seem to just feed on nectar while females need blood before they go reproduce.

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