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UK Nature  > Flies  > Bombylius major

Scientific Name:   Bombylius major
Common Name:   Bee Fly

Bombylius major, as its common name "Bee Fly" suggests, at least superficially, resembles a bumblebee. Its size (12-17mm in length) and all over furry body help to provide this illusion. There are ten different species of Bee Fly in Britain, Bombylius major being the most common and widespread.

They can usually be seen on the wing between March and June. It is easily identified by its long, rigid proboscis, the hovering over plants and the darting, high-pitch whining flight. They do not bite or sting and prefer sunny patches on the edges of woodland, roadsides, fields and gardens.

With some exceptions, Bee Flies are parasites of solitary bees and wasps. The female lays her eggs near the nests of host insects or on flowers that are visited by the host insects for their nectar and pollen. The developing larvae make their own way into the host nest or attach themselves to bees or wasps who visit the flowers to be carried into the nest by the host species.
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