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Dotted Bee-fly

Dotted Bee-fly

Bombylius discolor

Whilst out looking for bumblebees I occasionally come across something more unusual like this little chap. It’s one of the Bee-flies, the more common of which is the Large Bee-fly Bombylius major which sometimes visits gardens. This is the much scarcer Dotted Bee-Fly Bombylius discolor. It’s almost mouse-like with its furry coat and fairy dotted wings but look at that vicious-looking spike coming out of its mouth. What’s that all about? Don’t worry it’s not something to sting you with. It’s just its proboscis which it uses to suck nectar. It’s not exactly harmless though as it’s parasitoid larvae attack the grubs of solitary bees and wasps in their underground nests. It’s thought to prey primarily on the larvae of the Grey or Ash Mining Bee Andrena cineraria. Cute though isn’t it?

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