Solitary Bees & Satellite Flies

An interesting observation from the garden of Kate Kibble.

“Having spent some time observing the various solitary bees in my garden I realised that they were often accompanied by one or more unremarkable-looking flies. These closely followed the bees down to their nests and then were either seen to ‘stand watch’ by the entrance or to follow the bees down. I asked GNS recorder Tony Taylor to help with identification of some of the species I’d found and he informed me that the flies are sometimes known as satellite flies because of this behaviour. He considered they are most likely the species¬†Leucophora obtusa¬†and are kleptoparasitic on the mining bees, trying to lay their own egg on the food stored by the bee. Within my records for the afternoon were two other parasites of solitary bees – nothing in nature is ever as idyllic as it seems. The photo shows one of the flies waiting patiently outside an ashy mining bee burrow.”

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