Bombylius major – The Large Bee Fly

Bombylius major

When warm days come in  the first weeks of April the bumble-bees are joined in the bright spring air by a ginger and brown ball of fuzz called the Large Bee-fly, a bee mimic that performs erratic dances through garden flower-beds with its characteristic long proboscis extending out before it.
Amongst the dozen of them in the garden today was a mating couplet, joined at the rear with wings opposed yet still able to fly and manoeuvre to alight on these aquilegia leaves.
Once fertilised, the female will lay her eggs, often by the unusual method of flicking them mid-air into the nests of ground bees and wasps, for the larvae of Bombylius major is a parasite of wasp and bee broods as well as beetle larvae.

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