Rather like the arrival of the swallow, the appearance of the Bee-fly is one of the heralds of spring for me. I actually saw my first Bee-fly on the 17th March but didn’t manage to photograph it. Yesterday I did get some pictures. Bee-flies only fly when the temperature is above 17 degrees. My garden is a sun trap and I could feel the sun on my neck – always a good sign.
In this picture you can see the lesser celandine pollen on the proboscis and the feet of the Bee-fly – pollination in action! This individual is a female – the eyes are separated on the head – in the male both eyes touch each other. Bee-flies lay their eggs in the nests of bees such as mining bees and their larvae then feed on the bees’ larvae.
Here is the distribution of the Dark-edged Bee-fly in Britain (courtesy of the National Biodiversity Network) – not that common in Devon.