The Dark-Edged Bee Fly (Bombylius major) is an insect in the Bombyliidae family of flies. It is also known as the Large Bee Fly or the Large Humblefly.
The Dark-Edged Bee Fly is the similar size and shape of a Bumblebee (Bombus sp.), but its body is more triangular. It is dark-coloured with a brown hairy thorax and abdomen. It has translucent wings with a dark-brown edge. When it rests, its wings are spread out. Bumblebees have two pairs of wings, but the Dark-Edged Bee Fly has only one pair of wngs.
Its long, grey proboscis (nose) looks like a stinger or sword on the top of its head. Its proboscis is always straight (like a unicorn horn) because it cannot curl or retract it. Butterflies, for example, can roll up their proboscis. The Dark-Edged Bee Fly has long legs. It has short antennae. Unlike a bee, it does not have a stinger.
It grows to 1-2 centimetres (about one inch) in length. Its proboscis measures half to one centimetre (a third of an inch) long.
The Dark-Edged Bee Fly is common across the Northern Hemisphere, in Europe, North America, and Asia. It prefers temperate climates, and not tropical or cold climates.
It is seen from March to August.
It feeds on nectar and pollen from flowers, especially primrose flowers. It is a pollinator.
The Dark-Edged Bee Fly lives with Bumblebees. The female lays eggs into a bee burrow where solitary bees live. The eggs hatch into larvae (grubs), which become adult Bee Flies.
Location of photographs: Paris, France
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM