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fly Bee-flies

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Scientific name:  Bombylius major

Size:  Up to 18mm long.  Wingspan 25mm

Distribution:  Found throughout the U.K.  More common in southern England

Months seen:  April to June

Habitat:  Gardens, parks and woodland rides

Food:  Nectar. Larvae feed on honey and the the larvae of bees

Special features:  Bee-flies look more like a bee than a fly - hence the name.  They're sometimes called the 'Dark-edged Bee-fly', or the 'Large Bee-fly'.  Like a bumble bee they are covered in hair.  Bee-flies have a long proboscis for drinking nectar from deep flowers.  When at rest (which is rare) you notice the wings have dark markings along the leading edges.

Bee-flies are expert flyers, and make a high pitched buzzing sound while they hover around flowers, with their long, stilt-like legs dangling below them.

There are more than a dozen species of bee-fly in Britain.  They're one of the first insects on the wing each spring and frequently seen on primroses and bugle in April and May.

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