Not a bee, but an amazing simulacrum!

Is that a honeybee?
Is that a honeybee?
No way!
No way!

There’s a ton of native asters that are hard to distinguish, as I discovered after spending easily a confused hour pondering my wildflower book. I finally decided that it’s Heart-Leaved Aster overflowing in my back yard with huge plumes of pale lavender-to-white flowers feeding lots of happy bees.

Except one of them is a syrphid fly that is not a bee, but an incredible simulation. It’s amazing how much it looks exactly like a honeybee until you get close enough to see its head. Apparently it’s a bee mimic, Eristalis tenax.

Of course, most of the bees on the asters are the usual suspects.

Honeybee on aster
Honeybee on aster
Bumblebee on aster
Bumblebee on aster
Sweat bee on aster
Greeen sweat bee on aster

More often than not, I’ve found this trinity of bees: honeybees, bumblebees, and shiny green sweat bees, Agapostemon virescens. Sure, there are other, seasonal bees, but these gals really hang in there. I wonder how much longer?

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