Hexapoda » Insecta » Diptera » Orthorrhapha » Asiloidea » Bombyliidae » Anthracinae » Anthracini » Xenox » Xenox tigrinus
Physical Description & Size
The majority of the Tiger Bee Fly’s body is a grey to dark grey or even black. The part that stands out, giving them their name, is the pattern on the wings. It has black stripes among its transparent wings. People commonly mistake this fly for a bee because of its rather large size for a bee, hard-like shell, moulting abilities, and their own love for nectar once they have reached adulthood [source]. They can range anywhere from 12-19mm. The females and males seem to be about the same size unlike spiders in which the females are generally much larger than the males [source]. Location & Habitat It is found commonly throughout North America. As for their habitat, we expect they commonly seek out wooded areas similar to the Carpenter Bee’s preferred living areas, but when they are not seeking a place to lay their larvae, there is no specific inhabitants in which we find these bee flies. You could spot them flying anywhere perhaps, but don’t expect them to live their life too far from their hosts.
Prey & Predators
The Tiger Bee Fly’s larvae act as parasites to the Carpenter Bee larvae. After the mother Carpenter Bee has laid its larvae deep in the hole it had prepared, the mother Tiger Bee Fly comes along and nests her larvae in the midst of the other larvae as the small flies’ first meal before starting on their way to become the more popular, adult version that is seen drinking nectar from our flowers [source].
Harmful to Humans?
They are not harmful to humans in anyway. They are basically a large fly with bee like features and thankfully without the bee stinger. They may actually be good for us if not neutral because they are a pest to our pests. Who wants even more carpenter bee holes on their porch because of over population? Not us at PestPro! These flies really keep the reigns on the carpenter bees from getting out of hand.