- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
It's Day 6 of National Pollinator Week.
Meet the drone fly (Eristalis tenax), often mistaken for a honey bee.
The late Robbin Thorp, UC Davis distinguished emeritus professor of entomology, used to jokingly call it "The H Bee," pointing to the "H on its abdomen.
It's not a bee, though, it's a fly. It belongs to the family Syrphidae (which includes insects commonly known as syrphids, flower flies, and hover flies) in the order, Diptera.
The drone fly about the size of a honey bee. However, unlike a honey bee, the drone fly "hovers" over a flower before landing.
Drone fly larvae are known as rattailed maggots. They feed off bacteria in drainage ditches, manure or cess pools, sewers and the like.
But just think of the adult. It's a pollinator. Just like the honey bee.