Black-winged bee fly

The black winged bee-fly is a common fly in Central Europe that has its wings placed in a delta shape. This fly pollinated flowers in the search for nectar. The long thin tongue is used for feeding on flower nectar.

Black-winged bee fly and the nest

The black winged bee-fly is a nest parasite of solitary bees of the genus Osmia and Odynerus. These solitary bees build theire nest in walls and holes in wood. Antrax anthrax larvae parasitize those nests by laying its eggs in those nests. The eggs are flicked by the adult female toward the entrance of theire nests, and ,after hatching, the black-winged larvae feed on the solitary wasp larvae.

A female black winged bee-fly at the entrance of an Osmia nest. The red mason bee (Osmia rufa) is the most common of all the solitairy wasps and uses holes that are 7 or 8 mm wide.

Bombylella atra and antrax antrax

Bombylella atra looks very simulair to the black-winged bee-fly, but is more hairy and thick. The tongue of the black-winged bee-fly is very long and thin.

Large bee-fly Bombylius major and black-winged bee-fly (antrax antrax) around an Green-winged meadow orchid, on an illustration from the book: "Mitteleuropaische Insekten" by Claus Caspari (1956).

Hover flies or Bombilus species

There are many bombilus species:
They all feed on nectar. The lay their eggs near host species, like the brood of solitary wasps and digging bees such as Andrena. They often mimic bees to allow them to get close to the bees burrow.
On this website you can find:
black-winged hoverfly