Dark-edged Bee-fly

Bombylius major

  1. Wildlife
  2. Invertebrates
  3. Flies
  4. Dark-edged Bee-fly


The Dark-edged Bee-fly looks rather like a bumblebee, with a long, straight proboscis that it uses to feed on nectar from spring flowers such as primroses and violets. It is on the wing in the early spring, when it can often be seen in sunny patches. In flight, it is even more like a bee as it produces a high-pitched buzz. This species is common, but the Heath and Mottled Bee-flies, are classified as Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

How to identify

Looking like a bee, the Dark-edged Bee-fly has yellowy-brown hair on its body, long spindly legs and a long proboscis. The wings have dark markings along their leading edges, hence it's common name. There are actually several species of bee-fly in the UK, which can be very difficult to tell apart; the Dark-edged Bee-fly has a dark edge, and while others have more or less plain translucent wings. It is also the largest and most common.

Where to find it



When to find it

  • April
  • May

How can people help

Many of our commonly overlooked insects are important pollinators for all kinds of plants, including those which we rely on like fruit trees. The Wildlife Trusts recognise the importance of healthy habitats to support all kinds of species throughout the food chain, so look after many nature reserves for the benefit of wildlife. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from coppicing to craft-making, to stockwatching to surveying.

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Species information

Common name
Dark-edged Bee-fly
Latin name
Bombylius major
Body length: 1cm
Conservation status