I know you are now wondering “was I right? Was it a bumblebee in that last post?” Oh what a trickster I can be. That is not a bumblebee or any other kind of bee in the last post. It is a fly. A robber fly to be exact. They are in the family Asilidae. Some of these flies are excellent bee or wasp mimics. They can usually be found hanging out on stems like the one in the photo I posted. They wait for their prey to fly by, then they grab them in flight. they will eat other flies, bees, moths, wasps (yes…wasps!), dragonflies, beetles, and other insects. I have seen them snatch a honeybee in flight. It is cool to watch them. There is more info about these flies here and pictures of others here. You have to check out the pictures. You have more likely seen one, but never noticed. Maybe you will notice them next time.
There is a way to tell a bee from a fly. The eyes are usually the easiest way. Flies have these big googley eyes that are close together. Their eyes remind me of the giant sunglasses I see girls on campus wearing…more eyes than head. Another feature are the wings. Flies only have one pair of wings (2 wings total) while bees and wasps have two pairs (4 wings total). You wouldn’t be able to tell the wing pattern in the picture, but look at the eyes! Sometime in the future I will post another picture and see if anyone remembers this info.