I was working my hives the other day and had a visitor…
For some reason there seems to be a greater abundance of these creatures this year.
As with everything else this year, we’ll blame it on the weather.
Better yet, we’ll call him an opportunist!
This the Giant Robber Fly or “Bee Killer” and they feed on honey bees and other insects.
But because the honeybee supply is so abundant and accessible here, they are called “Bee Killers”!
They’re fast when they snatch a bee out of the air and they’re very noisy so it’s easy to know when these insects are around.
However, they have eternal patience while they wait for just the right moment.
Grab and Go meals 🙂
I like the fact that these are predatory insects, just not wild about the fact that around here their prey are my bees.
Here’s some other interesting information about the Giant Robber Fly:
There are over 7,000 species of robber flies world wide; nearly 1,000 in North America.
All robber flies have stout, spiny legs, a dense moustache of bristles on the face (mystax), and 3 simple eyes (ocelli) in a characteristic depression between their two large compound eyes. The mystax helps protect the head and face when the fly encounters prey bent on defense. The antennae are short, 3-segmented, sometimes with a bristle-like structure called an arista.
The short, strong proboscis is used to stab and inject victims with saliva containing neurotoxic and proteolytic enzymes which paralyze and digest the insides; the fly then sucks the liquefied meal much like we vacuum up an ice cream soda through a straw. Many species have long, tapering abdomens, sometimes with a sword-like ovipositor. Others are fat-bodied bumble bee mimics; the effect is quite convincing.