Flower gardens are in bloom up and down the street, so I took a stroll to see what insects I could find on the rich diversity of flowers available right now. There should be lots of bees gathering nectar and pollen from those flowers, right?
The bumblebee pretender has only one pair of wings, big bug eyes, no pollen baskets on those big hind legs, funny looking feet (not bee-like), and a big proboscis that sticks straight out from its head rather than straight down, like a bee’s would. It looks like a bee, flies like a bee, even hums like a bee — but it’s a fly! More specifically a robber fly, a predator of bees and other flying and crawling insects.
There were only a couple of bees in the garden today — many fewer than I would have expected. But there were lots of bee mimics, hoverflies, robber flies, and others. Where are all the bees? Do you see bees in your garden? Look closely, what you’re seeing could be bee mimics.