Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bees Bee-ware!

These two flies are both members of the Conopidae or Thick-headed Fly family. They were photographed near the Oasis Swimming Pool in Bedford last week.

Conopid flies are to our Bumblebees what Sparrowhawks are to our Sparrows! They perch on leaves and flowerheads waiting for their unsuspecting victims to alight and then, before you can say “Beware, Bumblebee, Beware” they fly alongside it and quickly deposit an egg inside the unfortunate victim using a razor-sharp needle-like ovipositor. The larva which hatches out consumes the Bee from the inside out, overwintering in the chitin husk. Gruesome, or what!!

This deep-red Conopid is Sicus ferrugineus, which is very common in this area. The head looks like it’s being blown up like a balloon!

And the wasp-like waist on this fly means that it is almost certainly Physocephalus rufipes.

No comments:

Post a Comment