Hov­er­ing bee flies true sign of spring

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Business Kent Update -

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

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