Insect and Bug ID forum: Fly, not bee?

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Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
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mellielong
Jun 26, 2016 8:53 PM CST
Over on the BBB forum, we have a thread where we share our various insects. I've been calling this thing a bee, but jmorth helpfully pointed out that it only had two wings and so it was more likely a fly. It's hard to get good photos of them because they constantly "float" from flower to flower. They are as large as a bumblebee but all black. And kind of shiny. They seem to be good pollinators and prefer my porterweed (which it's on) and the Salvia 'Mystic Spires'. I usually only see one or two of them on any given plant. They're not at all aggressive and don't mind when I get pretty close to take pictures. They just rarely hold still!

Thumb of 2016-06-27/mellielong/5e2e06 Thumb of 2016-06-27/mellielong/6b7cc9 Thumb of 2016-06-27/mellielong/300897

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Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
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Moonhowl
Jun 26, 2016 9:42 PM CST
I think those are called flower flies (hover flies)...they imitate bees. Family Syrphidae

http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?search=Syrphidae
Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
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JRsbugs
Jun 27, 2016 4:19 AM CST
It's a bee, note the shape of the head, eyes and it has long antennae, some flies mimic long antennae but they never look like this.

Genus Xylocopa - Large Carpenter Bees

http://bugguide.net/node/view/3508

I would say this is X. virginica, a very worn one.

http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20p?see=I_PDA8&res=640

2'. Abdomen black with slight purplish tint; antennal scape completely dark; legs with dark pubescence . . . . . virginica


http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/bees/xylocopa.htm

There are similar bees ..

http://bugguide.net/node/view/3508/bgpage



Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Jun 27, 2016 6:28 AM CST
I love those UF articles. Use them all the time. And the wording is very close to how I described the insect. I'm looking through the pictures and it looks like they only have two wings, but I see in the second link and the drawing on the UF article that they have hind wings, they're just much smaller. And maybe the hold them under the fore wings? I guess that's why it only looks like two wings?

Dad's a woodworker so we have lots of wood laying around, but he usually coats it with some kind of sealer (end seal, I think it's called?) and keeps it under a tarp. But I'll give him the heads up about the bees. I like them. We also have plenty of trees with dead limbs and such; I don't know if they would use those. I think all the houses on my street are concrete and stucco. The only wood I remember was the beams in the roof when we built the place (not counting interior stuff). So I can't imagine the bees would be a problem. Thumbs up
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 27, 2016 6:31 AM CST
The two wings kind of hook together as one. I discovered that when I looked up why they appeared to only have one pair because I too thought the antennae weren't right for a fly.
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Jun 27, 2016 6:33 AM CST
Thanks, Sue! I'll have to read more in depth when I wake up. Need caffeine first!
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