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University of Minnesota Extension

Species guide - species detail

Bombyliidae (Bee flies)



Bombyliidae is a family of flies commonly known as "bee flies". We did not identify our specimens to genus or species.


Flies in the family Bombyliidae typically forage for pollen and nectar and can be important pollinators of some plants. For this reason, and because they are often hairy and look similar to bees, they are commonly called "bee flies". The larvae are usually parasites on the larvae of other insects. The Bombyliidae we observed in Bee Atlas blocks were medium-large, black and white flies, with irregular black splotches on their wings.

Nest Structure

Bee flies do not build their own nest. Instead, they lay eggs in the nests of other insects, and the larvae eat the food and larva of the host insect. In Bee Atlas blocks, bee flies usually parasitized Megachile pugnata, and occasionally other bee or wasp species.

Hole Sizes

No information at this time.


No information at this time.

Activity Period

No information at this time.


Kits, J.H., Marshall, S.A., and Evenhuis, N.L. 2008. The bee flies (Diptera: Bombyliidae) of Ontario, with a key to the species of eastern Canada. Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification No. 6, 06 March 2008, available online at doi: 10.3752/cjai.2008.06

Minnesota Record Map

These data are from the Minnesota Bee Atlas project.

Back to Bee species guide