Friday, September 1, 2017

Bee Flies in Colorado By Joyce D’Agostino

Bee fly on Lobelia, photo by Joyce D'Agostino

This summer while I was observing some bee activity on my flowers, I noticed an unusually fuzzy insect that was foraging for nectar. I was curious what it was so I sent a picture of this ‘bee’ to Mario Padilla, Entomologist at the Butterfly Pavilion. Mario specializes in bees but is also widely knowledgeable in the genus and species of many native and exotic insects.

He advised me that this insect was not a bee at all but a “bee fly”, from the genus Bombyliidae. Like bees, they feed on nectar and pollen and some species are helpful pollinators. Some may be seen active at the same time as honey bees or bumble bees.

Finding new beneficial insects in your garden is not only fun but a great way to expand your knowledge of the many insects that may visit your garden. Having good sources for identification and material to identify the insects helps you know which insects are beneficial or those that might he harmful.

The attached information has more information on bee flies and other helpful insects here in Colorado: