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NC State Extension

Bumblebee Look-a-Likes

Bumblebees (Image 1) are valuable pollinators that can sting. The two predatory flies shown here (Images 2 and 3) are bee mimics. This is done to fool potential prey or their own predators.

Bumblebee characteristics

Image 1. Distinguishing characteristics pf bumblebees.

Robber fly adult

Image 2. Characteristics distinguishing Robber Fly from Bumblebee.

Hover fly adult

Image 3. Characteristics distinguishing Hover Fly from Bumblebee.

Characteristics for Separating Look-A-Likes from the Real Thing

Bumblebee Robber Fly Hover Fly
Concavity between eyes N Y N
Bearded face N Y N
Long, elbowed antennae Y N N
Four wings Y N N
Two wings N Y Y
Claws on foot Y N N
Fleshy foot pads N Y Y