Queens Award for Voluntary Service

Orchard Bee-fly

In the Orchard area today (05.05.2017) and so many animals flying around now, despite being a windy day. Seeing several old favourites for the first time this year which is always a good feeling but the highlight must be seeing the Dark-edged Bee-fly here for the first time at Fairfield.

Fly of the day – Bombylius major

One of 11 species that we have in the Bombyliidae family of flies and a fairly common one seen in a variety of habitats including gardens occasionally. It looks like a smallish chestnut bumblebee with a long proboscis which might look a bit like a stinger but this fly is totally harmless to humans. The proboscis is able to get the deep nectar from primroses, etc. It is looking to lay its eggs by the nests of solitary bees so that its larvae can attack them although it often doesn’t ‘lay’ but rather fires its eggs using rapid back and forth flying motions. The female has a special ‘sand chamber’ in which it can mix sand and dust with the eggs to give them more weight so that it can fire them more effectively! This photo was taken at the start of the orchard at the Sunnyside Lane end.