Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Bee Flies

I've always been intrigued by the Bee Fly (Bombylius major) given its unusual, bee-like appearance and impressive long proboscis. My intrigue has only been heightened by the fact that I see bee flies very rarely. In fact, despite my long standing interest in insects and macro photography, prior to this year I had only ever seen them on one occasion. This was a few years ago in a family member's garden in Essex. For some reason I just never saw bee flies in my own garden or at local nature reserves.

In January 2016 I moved house just a few doors up (13 to be precise!) from my previous house and the selection of insects that I found in my new garden was, not surprisingly, very similar to that found in my old garden. However, imagine my surprise when I spotted a bee fly in my new garden during the warm weather earlier this month.  In fact, during this warm spell I saw several and at one point counted 4 individuals sunning themselves on my fence. Since then the temperature has dropped considerably and I've seen only a fleeting glimpse of a single individual.

I'm left wondering if there have always been bee flies around here - including in my old garden, though this seems unlikely given how avidly I scoured the garden each spring looking for bees and other insects. Or maybe they have always lived in the gardens surrounding my new house and stayed very local - though I didn't see any last spring. Or maybe they are new to the area? I suppose time will tell if I will see some each spring from now on.

Anyway, although they are very skittish I did manage a few images when the temperature cooled late afternoon/early evening and they became more approachable.


This first image shows a Dark-Edged Bee Fly (Bombylius major) that paused for a few moments to clean its proboscis.

The next two images show an individual feeding on Grape Hyacinths

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