To bee or not to bee …

To bee or not to bee …

.. that is the question.

It turns out it’s NOT !!!

I contacted the Southern Africa Beekeeping Association for verification of it’s common and scientific name to which I got a prompt reply from Paul Edwards saying that he thought it was a fly rather than a bee, possibly from the hover fly family (Syrphidae).  He then contacted Mike Allsop of the Agricultural Research Council who confirmed that it was in fact a hover fly with the following explanation :-

” This is one of the more common bee-mimics seen in the Cape.  It is a hover fly, not a bee, of the family Syrphidae – and this specific species is Eristalinus taeniops and is found almost throughout Africa and Asia.  They, like most syrphids, are reasonably effective pollinators but generally less effective than bees because (a) they are not as hairy and (b) they hover rather than alight.  This particular species buzzes (like a bee) very impressively when caught – but cannot sting or bite”

So it’s a fly !!!    Easy mistake to make ?  !!! 🙂

Watch out for my entry in the Sunday Times Photographic competition !!  🙂

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