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British Beekeepers Association Official Forum 

  • Attacking flies

  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #11103  by jerrymwatkins
 08 Jun 2021, 10:12
Has anybody come across black hoverfly sized flies attacking alighting workers? I have some photos but can't appear to download on this forum. I can't work out if the flies are egg laying on the bees or perhaps being territorial.
 #11104  by AdamD
 08 Jun 2021, 12:54
I've not seen attacking flies myself although do see dragonflies catch other insects on the wing which can be quite impressive.
To get pictures on the forum you do need to upload them to another hosting site and link to them; if you have any pics, that would be great.
Welcome to the forum.
 #11107  by Patrick
 08 Jun 2021, 15:48
Hi Jerry

Hope it’s not a silly question but are you sure they are not other honey bees trying to rob out yours? Sometimes, because they are getting beaten up whilst doing so, the robbers become nearly hairless and appear dark and greasy looking. It could be opportunistic robbers from another hive or a feral colony and the bar battles with the hives “bouncers” are spilling onto the street.

If you are on full width entrances i would reduce down to a small entrance using either the entrance block or scrap timber ( I often use a spare frame top bar rotated on its side) to give the guard bees less entrance to defend and give them more time to check over new arrivals.

Just a thought..
 #11115  by jerrymwatkins
 09 Jun 2021, 22:47
Thanks Patrick, I'm pretty certain the insects are a type of fly rather than a shifty robber. I will attempt now to download a photo or two on Instagram and create a link. Pity photos cannot be downloaded here.
 #11116  by jerrymwatkins
 09 Jun 2021, 23:21
Thanks Adam, I am taking your advice and attempting to get the photos on my phone downloaded onto Instagram, hopefully then I can post a link.
 #11117  by jerrymwatkins
 09 Jun 2021, 23:46
Adam and Patrick,

try clicking on these links for a sense of what my mysterious fly look like.
 #11118  by MickBBKA
 10 Jun 2021, 00:12
I can't open those links on my mobile phone but if they are a large black and white hover fly then I often see them around my colonies. They usually are more attracted to bumble bees. If its them they don't prey on bees or the larvae they lay eggs in hive debris on the floors and cause no damage to the brood or comb.
 #11119  by Caroline
 10 Jun 2021, 08:43
I managed to open the photos via google.

I always find it difficult identifying the various bee/fly species, but think it might a hoverfly of the Eristalis family.

'Eristalis is a large genus of hoverflies, family Syrphidae, in the order Diptera. Several species are known as drone flies because they bear a resemblance to honeybee drones'
 #11130  by jerrymwatkins
 10 Jun 2021, 20:49
Most interesting many thanks Caroline and Mick. Gratifying to learn these hover flies are not laying on the adult bees or predating on larvae. However they do appear overtly aggressive and routinely dash the poor bees to the ground .