Greater Bee Fly Bombylius major Linnaeus, 1758    
Kingdom Animalia   >   Phylum Arthropoda   >   Class Insecta   >   Order Diptera   >   Family Bombyliidae   >   Genus Bombylius   

Status:

A very common Holarctic species, this large, fuzzy bee fly is conspicuous in early spring, especially near solitary bee nests. The precise pattern of the dark markings on the wing is distinctive and diagnostic for the east.

Relationships:

The larvae of the species are parasitoids of the larvae of solitary bees (e.g., Andrena). According to BugGuide (2021): "Females rest on bare ground and collect fine sand and dust in the long tufts of hair at the end of their abdomen, called dust baskets. After finding an entrance to ground nesting bee tunnels, she hovers above the nest and flicks her eggs through the dust baskets, covering them with dust and fine sand grains, making the eggs invisible at the entrance to the bee nests. She may also lay eggs on flowers visited by the bees, and the larvae will hitch a ride back to the bee’s nest."

Also per BugGuide: "Very mobile after hatching, larvae move quickly down the tunnel of ground nesting bees, find and feed on stored food in cells and later, feed on the bee larvae itself. Larvae pupate in the tunnel and hatch out the next spring."

There are 138 records in the project database.

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A Greater Bee Fly in Carroll Co., Maryland (4/20/2019). Photo by Jim Moore. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Howard Co., Maryland (4/25/2011). Photo by Richard Orr. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Harford Co., Maryland (4/3/2020). Photo by Dave Webb. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Prince George's Co., Maryland (5/6/2013). Determined by Ken Wolgemuth/BugGuide. Photo by Barbara Thurlow. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Harford Co., Maryland (4/19/2014). Photo by Mike Burchett. (MBP list)

Greater Bee Fly in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (4/10/2021). (c) Sergei Drovetski, all rights reserved. Photo by Sergei Drovetski. (MBP list)

Greater Bee Fly in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (4/11/2021). (c) Jim Moore (Maryland), some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Jim Moore (Maryland) via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Greater Bee Fly in Prince George's Co., Maryland (4/15/2021). (c) Sergei Drovetski, all rights reserved. Photo by Sergei Drovetski. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Harford Co., Maryland (4/26/2018). Photo by Josh Emm. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Frederick Co., Maryland (4/13/2014). Photo by Bonnie Ott. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Howard Co., Maryland (4/22/2015). Individual was photographed in situ, still roosting on a cold morning. Photo by Bonnie Ott. (MBP list)

Greater Bee Fly in Howard Co., Maryland (4/10/2017). (c) Timothy Reichard, all rights reserved. Photo by Timothy Reichard. (MBP list)

Greater Bee Fly in Baltimore Co., Maryland (4/7/2021). (c) laurabankey, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by laurabankey via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Greater Bee Fly in Montgomery Co., Maryland (4/13/2020). (c) Even Dankowicz, some rights reserved (CC BY). Photo by Even Dankowicz via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Baltimore City, Maryland (5/3/2007). Photo by Thomas Wilson. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Frederick Co., Maryland (5/2/2015). Photo by Mark Etheridge. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (4/12/2015). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Calvert Co., Maryland (5/28/2017). Photo by Ben Springer. (MBP list)

Greater Bee Fly in Prince George's Co., Maryland (4/15/2021). (c) Sergei Drovetski, all rights reserved. Photo by Sergei Drovetski. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Worcester Co., Maryland (4/5/2013). Photo by Scott Housten. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Dorchester Co., Maryland (4/21/2015). Verified by Ken Wolgemuth/BugGuide. Photo by Mark Etheridge. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Frederick Co., Maryland (4/26/2015). Photo by Mark Etheridge. (MBP list)

Greater Bee Fly in Montgomery Co., Maryland (4/4/2020). (c) hughrand, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by hughrand via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly found by students at Jemicy School in Baltimore Co., Maryland (4/18/2017). Photo by Emily Stanley. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (4/19/2012). Photo by Brandon Woo. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Baltimore Co., Maryland (4/26/2013). Photo by Frode Jacobsen. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Montgomery Co., Maryland (4/20/2014). Photo by Steve Scholnick. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Baltimore Co., Maryland (3/28/2016). Photo by Shannon Schade. (MBP list)

Greater Bee Fly in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (4/27/2021). (c) jmottar, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by jmottar via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (4/13/2014). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Howard Co., Maryland (4/17/2013). Photo by Scott Housten. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Schooley Mill Park, Howard Co., Maryland (4/28/2014). Photo by Nancy Magnusson. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Montgomery Co., Maryland (4/18/2009). Photo by R. Child. (MBP list)

A Greater Bee Fly in Queen Anne's Co., Maryland (4/27/2013). Photo by Jim Stasz. (MBP list)

Greater Bee Fly in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (4/23/2021). (c) Timothy Reichard, all rights reserved. Photo by Timothy Reichard. (MBP list)


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