(not a) Bee

Frank N. Baker

Well-Known Member
simple bee


Nicely lit and great detail - especially on no. 1
Nice shot except for one small detail. It's not a bee, it's a fly (one pair of wings not two)!! It's Eristalis tenax, the honey bee mimic. Think of the Golden Syrup tin and the parable of the bees emerging from the corpse of the lion. This is the fella responsible. They lay eggs in decaying corpses and the adults emerge on mass. No sting, totally harmless and adults feed on nectar like bees.
nice shots FRank loads of pollen on him/her sure has been busy.

Quick question for Pete, do all bee's have two pairs of wings? why I am asking is I got loads of different types of bees and lookalikes in garden as I encourage them in but never know whats what!
Hi Laurie,

Yes, all bees and wasps have 2 pairs of wings and flies have one (the second pair are vestigial and act as gyroscopes - halteres). There are many bee and wasp mimics and if you see something wasp-like that is hovering, it's a fly. Some even buzz like bees and wasps but the big giveaway is that they can also do this while stationary as most of the noisy comes from the halteres which do not generate lift. They also bob their abdomens like wasps but in fact they are all harmless and have no sting (or even a bite). Most belong to the Syrphidae (hover flies) but there is another wonderful but small family called the Bobylidae which include the bumble bee mimics. These can feed like humming birds, hovering by the plant and feeding through extended mouth parts.


Sorry about the long link but it's a nice picture!
cheers for that info now I know what is or isnt a bee or wasp always wondered as I have so many in the garden loads of different species, that picture in the link I have seen something like that in my garden, also get hummingbird moths which I know are no relation but they are fascinating to watch
Me and Hannah constantly argue about what's a bee and what's a wasp whn there is something like this buzzing round the lounge.. This has just added to my ammo ;)