Dark-edged Bee-fly

Bombylius major


Body length 6 - 12.5mm.  This is the commonest member of the family and is usually seen early in the spring as it hovers and flies close to the ground. It has a long needle-like proboscis and furry body and the wings are shaded along the leading edge.


Common over a wide range of habitats where there are dry warm and sheltered conditions and solitary bees are common. The adults feed on nectar and the females flick their abdomens as they lay their eggs, aiming to make them land at the entrance to a bee nest chamber. The larvae make their way into a host cell to feed on the bee larvae.

Status and distribution

Common and widespread throughout the south, petering out further north. Common in Nottinghamshire and at Netherfield Lagoons.

Best time to see

March to June.