Saturday, 11 April 2015

Bombylius Major

Better known as the Bee Fly.

While clearing up in the garden, I spotted something land nearby. A quick look and I could see it was a Bee Fly:

DSCN4189 Bee Fly

I don't often see one resting. They are usually hovering in the Sunshine. What is nice is that they often return to the same space to hover which makes it easy to get a camera close to them though not necessarily easy to get one in focus. They have a habit of darting rapidly just a few inches. Fortunately they don't seem to mind being photographed. In fact sometimes I think they actually invite it as they often move closer to the camera:

 IMG_0141 Bee Fly

IMG_0168 Bee Fly

IMG_0149 Bee Fly

As can be seen from the above one of the characteristics which makes them easy to identify, along with the habit of hovering, is the long proboscis sticking out in front.  I am quite pleased with these flight shots as it took over an hour and 20+ photos with an old Canon 350D fitted with a Sigma 28-80mm zoom macro lens set to manual focus. Why the 350D when I have better cameras? That combination is very light weight and the lens will focus down to about 3 inches though I never managed to get nearer than about 12 inches.

Occasionally the Bee Fly would land which made life a little easier:

 IMG_0164 Bee Fly

IMG_0162 Bee Fly

I think there were several about in the front and back gardens. No doubt looking for somewhere the leave their eggs. The female flicks eggs near or into the nests of other insects or sometimes lays them on plants visited by the host insects.


  1. These look good large, they are well worth the effort.

  2. Adrian: Reasonable anyway. The flight shots are quite small crops.

  3. The flight shos are great and beyond my tech. One very obligingly posed for me on the ground the other day and I got shots for the blog.

  4. Funny - yesterday I was just photographing what I think is a bee fly. It is not as pretty a color as yours, though. Great shots.

  5. Great shots John, especially the flight shots.

  6. Aaaah, isn't he just a gorgeous little fella John, lovely captures! I've seen one or two around in my garden but have not been lucky enough to have the camera at hand, must learn to leave it on my shoulder!

  7. Replies
    1. Thank you Roy. I do wish i could have got closer as they are only small crops. Another day maybe.

  8. It reminds me of the hummingbird hawk moth we see around here. Oh, I just looked it up and found that they are indeed the same, just differently named over your way..or over our way ;) I have been enjoying your photos and videos... especially the microscopic pond water specimens. I have been down and out with a very nasty cold, but think I'm on the mend!

    1. Hello Glo: No. The Hummingbird Hawk Moth looks similar but is about twice the size of the Bee Fly. I am really enjoying the microscope now I can record 'live action' from it.
      Hope you soon recover from the cold. Touch wood I rarely get one for more than 24hrs these past few years. Last week I had one day where I couldn't catch up with my nose it was running so fast! Maybe it was a form of hay fever from the Hazel pollen next to the gate.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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