Tuesday, July 7, 2015

"News Bee"

As I was sitting on my back porch the other day, a large flying insect landed on the chair next to me. I had never seen one like this one- brightly colored in stripes of yellow, black and brown.  It reminded me of a hornet or some kind of yellow jacket.  I thought to myself that this one could probably cause a deeply painful sting.  

Of course, I had to know what kind of insect I was dealing with here.  Come to find out, it's neither a hornet or a yellow jacket.  Rather, it's a fly.  That's right- a fly, a flower fly in the family Syrphidae. This particular species is known as Milesia virginiensis.  In American folklore and superstition, it's called the “News Bee"- for it will sometimes hover in front of a person, as if it were “giving them the news.”  It can be easily mistaken for a European hornet or queen yellowjacket.

I found an interesting and informative blog post about this hover fly at Bug Eric's site.  I was relieved to find out that this colorful insect is basically harmless to humans.  

One more tidbit of info: Milesia virginiensis' image was used on the 33 cent US postage stamp in 1999.


  1. gorgeous creature. Sigh. Mother does good.

  2. It is a colorful fly, awesome macro shots. Enjoy your day!

  3. I remember this from my childhood. We would sit very still and hold out our hand, one finger extended. If the news bee lit on your finger, good news was coming your way!
    Thanks for reminding me!

  4. Nice bug! I don't think that I've seen one of these before. I have seen other flies that look nastier than they are.

    Also, the Purple Martins above are fun.