Beer and … Bees?

Syrphid fly on fall chysanthemum

We had beautiful warm weather for NERAX North, so nice the honeybees were buzzing around these chrysanthemums growing in planters behind the Tap. But two of them weren’t bees.

Bees have long antennae, but these guys have that tiny little radar dish thingie on the front of their heads — like flies. The colors are right, but a couple of stripes are wrong. They’re bee mimics, and they do an amazing job of it.

These bee mimics are syrphid flies, the Drone Fly Eristalis tenax. As adults they drink nectar and lay eggs. When the eggs hatch, the larvae are killer maggots, similar to these, except they live in murky water. Really neat bugs to have in your garden.

As for the beer, the beer was fantastic. And yes, even during a beer festival, I look for bees.