Saturday, April 10, 2010

Secret Agent Bee: Gentlemen! (click title to "get it")

(UPDATE: Pardon the idiotic un-finished post, was going to go back before it was scheduled, but yeah...)

Popping around the garden I was charmed by a very odd looking inverted teardrop shaped be.  The head of this bee was at the pointy end of the teardrop and it was very wary, yet seemed playful at the same time alighting to pause here and there, waiting for me to get to it to get a better look before flying away again.

After LOTS of time on the internet trying to figure out what it was I've determined that it's a parasitic, potentially beneficial pollinator fly from the Bombyliidae family.  The cool feature about this fly (besides its appearance) is that it lays its eggs by its prey's den or home and the fly's larvae crawl into the den and then eat the prey!

The unfortunate part is that it seems that Bombyliidae's don't distinguish between annoying crickets/grasshoppers and wasps (which can be helpful too as pollinators) and helpful beneficial pollinators such as solitary bees and etc.

Still, nifty to see and have around!