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Solved Hoverbee, hoverfly or hover- something

Discussion in 'Identification Area' started by Selleri, Apr 22, 2021.

  1. Selleri

    Selleri Koala

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    For the first time, we have several hover-somethings in the garden.

    They look like bees with long supermodel legs hanging below the body, and hover in one spot until they see a small insect flying past. Then they attack and try to catch the insect.

    They are not visiting flowers and are apparently predatory.

    What are they?

    Thanks!
     
  2. pete

    pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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    I've seen those last year, I think they are bees of some kind, they have long trailing legs.
    Not seen them attack other insects.
     
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    • Nikolaos

      Nikolaos Super Gardener

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      Aren't the ones with the long back legs called Paper Wasps? :scratch: I seem to have a vague memory of Googling them and not getting very far a while back. Are these them, @Selleri? This is what I got when I typed "paper wasps in flight" into YouTube... :dunno:



      Nick
       
    • Selleri

      Selleri Koala

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      Thanks! My hover-somethings look less like wasps and more like bees with furry outline. They are hovering in the same spot at about about 1.5m and seem almost motionless until a small insect flies past. Then they attack very fast, like a bird of prey would, following the target until they catch or miss.

      The legs of the paper wasps in the video look about right, they look too long and heavy for the insect and hang uselessly under the body.
       
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      • pete

        pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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        The ones I saw last year were not wasps, definitely bees.
         
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        • NigelJ

          NigelJ Total Gardener

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          • noisette47

            noisette47 Total Gardener

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            The dangly things here are definitely paper wasps. Nasty things! The other ones to watch out for are taons..look like giant hoverflies but stalk anything warm-blooded and the bite lasts for 6 weeks. They don't hover, though, they go straight in for the kill...
             
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            • Jasmine star

              Jasmine star Super Gardener

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                Last edited: Apr 22, 2021
              • flounder

                flounder Gardener

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                It sounds like bee flies, they are parasitic to some bee and wasp species but they tend not to be predatory but some have longish back legs. We need photographic evidence of this nightmare haunting insect, or we will accuse you of eating cheese before bedtime!
                 
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                • Nikolaos

                  Nikolaos Super Gardener

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                  Lots here too Jasmine, but they seem to be visiting quite a few flowers to drink and Selleri said what she had weren't. :scratch: I've never seen them attack anything else either and surely that large proboscis would've been mentioned by her? :dunno:

                  Oh cool, didn't know about them, not a problem, I'LL JUST NEVER, EVER GO OUTDOORS AGAIN THEN! :yikes::roflol:

                  Nick
                   
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                  • Selleri

                    Selleri Koala

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                    So sorry Mr @flounder , I will definitely ask The Teenager to take some photographic evidence before any further posts. :biggrin: With my skills, getting a snapshot of a planter in focus is a challenge :redface:

                    I can however testify that no cheese has been eaten right before bedtime. Mozzarella doesn't count for cultural reasons, and Cheddar for economy boosting ones. Glad that Pinot Grigio was not discussed :biggrin:


                    I have googled a lot, these definitely are not bee flies but predatory bee-like hovering insects. I will try to film them tomorrow, with the kind help of The Teenager who actually knows how to do those things. Filming, that is, not hovering or killing insects for food. ;)
                     
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                    • NigelJ

                      NigelJ Total Gardener

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                      I wish "The Teenager" good luck on the photography front, I've tried photographing flying hoverflies and they just keep moving. If you swat them then the they don't look right. Perhaps net a couple then in the fridge for 30 minutes and then photo opportunity before they warm up.
                      I look forward to the pictures though.
                       
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                      • noisette47

                        noisette47 Total Gardener

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                        No problem! They're French horse flies, so automatically banned from entering Great Britain without vaccinations, passports and visas ;):biggrin::whistle:
                         
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                        • Silver surfer

                          Silver surfer PLANTAHOLIC

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                          • Selleri

                            Selleri Koala

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                            Hi,
                            the mystery gets muddier. I had a day off today so spent the whole day waiting for the hoverwhatnots, keeping The Teenager on standby for filming (Mum, I have a lecture! :gaah:)

                            The large ones with dangling legs and predatory behaviour didn't come. They have been around every afternoon for a week in a group of four or five. Now I saw one. But, I saw a large number of ordinary hoverflies looting on Rosemary flowers and doing hoverfliery things. Normally I'd expect to see the odd one, not several.

                            Perhaps the big ones are after all just ordinary hoverflies, but in mating, or perhaps they are queens?

                            I must admit that my knowledge of Hoverfly life cycle is minuscules, but other insects also have strange forms appearing for mating or for starting a new colony, such as the winged ants that suddenly appear en masse and then disappear in a day.

                            Fascinating. It would be great to understand this a bit better, thanks for sharing any expertise or experiences. :)
                             
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