Hovering bee flies true sign of spring
One of the signs of spring as you wander along a sunny country lane or the edge of a woodland is coming across a bee fly. These are amazing insects which have a furry body and wings which predominantly have a dark margin. The most distinctive feature of this group is they have a rigid tongue which sticks out like a trumpet. They hover over flowers and buzz around clusters of flowers in the sunshine. However, these bee flies are looking for solitary wasp burrows, which the female flicks the eggs near to the hole of the solitary wasp while hovering over the burrow and the grub hatches and crawls down into the burrow and feeds on the grubs of the solitary wasp. Bee flies can be seen nectaring on spring flowers like primroses on hedgebanks and gardens. In Kent we tend to see only two species – one is the common dark bordered bee fly with the dark margins to the wing, while the scarcer one is called the dotted bee fly which is found on north and south coast of Kent and I was able to see one in Dover a couple of weeks back on the Kent Downs. I also see them on Romney Marsh.
For more information contact Owen Leyshon, Romney Marsh Countryside Partnership, telephone 01797 367934 or log on to www.rmcp.co.uk