bearded bee fly

(Anastoechus barbatus)

Conservation Status
bearded bee fly
Photo by Dan W. Andree
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked


not listed


Bearded bee fly is a small to medium-sized, stout-bodied, bee fly. It occurs throughout the United States and southern Canada but is most common in the southwest. It is uncommon in Minnesota. Larvae are parasitic on the eggs and larvae of grasshoppers. Adults are found in fields. They feed on the pollen and nectar of dotted blazing star and white heath aster.

Adults are 316 to (5 to 15 mm) in length. The head and body are densely covered with long, erect, grayish-yellow hairs. The body is curved when viewed from the side.

The head and the first segment of the thorax are directed downward. The head is broad. The face is densely hairy, including a dense white beard, yellowish hairs around the base of the antennae, and a tuft of long black hairs on each side along the eyes. The antennae are black and have three segments. The third segment is not divided by rings (annulated). The beak-like projection of mouthparts (proboscis) is very long.

The hairs on the underside of the thorax, corresponding to the chest, are white.

The hairs on the abdomen are mostly yellowish, but there is a row of long black hairs at the rear margin of each abdominal segment. This is especially evident on the male, where the black hairs give a blackish tint to the end of the abdomen. On the female they are less evident and are usually completely absent. The small, knob-like structures on each side of the thorax (halteres) are white or pale yellow, at least at the top.

The wings are clear and may have a brownish tint at the base, especially on the male. The veins are yellowish-brown. The discal cell is present. The radius-median (r-m) cross vein is near the base of the discal cell. The vein that closes the discal cell is longer than the r-m cross vein. The M1 vein ends before the wing tip so that there are only three posterior cells. Cells R and M are about equal in length. The anal cell is open near the margin.

The legs are long, slender, and mostly reddish-yellow. The third segment (femur) for most of its length is black but densely covered with white scales. The last part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, has three segments.




316 to (5 to 15 mm)


Similar Species






Mid-August through September (CCESR)




Adults are active during the day. They do not bite. They frequently rest in open areas on bare ground, rocks, wood fragments, and leaves. The wings are held outspread when at rest.


Life Cycle


The female hovers over the nest of its prey. Larva undergo hypermetamorphosis, where the stages (instars) differ markedly in appearance and behavior. The first instar larva is active and penetrates the nest of its prey. It then molts and becomes a sedentary parasite. The pupa has spines with which it drills out of the nest.


Larva Food


Eggs and larvae of grasshoppers


Adult Food


Pollen and nectar of dotted blazing star and white heath aster


Distribution Map



24, 27, 29, 30.

Painter, R. H. (1962). The Taxonomy and Biology of Systoechus and Anastoechus Bombyliid (Diptera) Predators in Grasshopper Egg Pods. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society35(2), 255–269.







Diptera (gnats, mosquitoes, true flies)  


Brachycera (circular-seamed flies, muscoid flies, short-horned flies)  






Bombyliidae (bee flies)  







The superfamily Asiloidea was formerly placed in Orthorrhapha, one of two infraorders of Brachycera, a suborder of Diptera. However, it did not contain all of the descendants of the last common ancestor (paraphyletic). It was split into five extant (still existing) and one extinct infraorder. Orthorrhapha is now considered obsolete and has not been used in decades, but it persists in printed literature and on some online sources. A recent revision of the order Diptera (Pope, et al., 2011) revived the name Orthorrhapha, but this has not been widely accepted.






Common Names


bearded bee fly












On insects and arachnids, the third, largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. On humans, the thigh bone.



In flies: a pair of knob-like structures on the thorax representing hind wings that are used for balance.



The developmental stage of arthropods between each molt; in insects, the developmental stage of the larvae or nymph.






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Dan W. Andree


I seen it at Frenchman’s Bluff SNA in August 2021. First time I noticed one.

    bearded bee fly   bearded bee fly  








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Visitor Sightings

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  Dan W. Andree
August 2021

Location: Frenchman’s Bluff SNA

I seen it at Frenchman’s Bluff SNA in August 2021. First time I noticed one.

bearded bee fly  






Created: 10/29/2021

Last Updated:

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