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Brilliant Bee-flies

Bee-flies hovering above flowers using their surprisingly long proboscises to drink the nectar from them are one of the amazing sight of spring. The Dark-edged Bee-fly emerges first in late February or March and is the most commonly seen species around Aldbourne flying until June. The other species being recorded at the moment in the village is the Dotted bee-fly, named after its numerous black spots along the wings.

While they may look cute and fluffy, our species of bee-flies lay their eggs in the nests of solitary mining bees such as the Ashy mining bee which is prevalent across much of Aldbourne. Adult female bee-flies cover their abdomens in dust in order to camouflage and add weight to their eggs. After locating the entrance holes of the solitary bee burrows the female bee-fly then flicks her eggs into the burrows. After the bee-fly larva hatch they crawl further down into the bee's burrow and once the bee's own larva are almost fully grown the bee-fly larva attack and feed on them. However, as both species have evolved side-by-side for millennia there is no evidence that bee-flies significantly impact bee populations.

Check out this really good ID guide by the Soldier flies and allies recording scheme for more information about telling the species apart:

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