Invasion of the beesquitoes! The scary-looking inch-long monsters buzzing the UK's gardeners


What's the buzz? The rare terrifying insect that is striking fear into the hearts of gardeners

With a long, menacing spike protruding from its furry head, the sinister-looking insect below could be straight out of a horror film.
But fear not, for there is no sting in the tail with this large bee fly, which could soon be coming to a garden near you.
Despite its rather monstrous appearance, the exotic insect – official name Bombylius major – is actually a bee mimic and completely harmless to humans.
Dubbed 'beesquitoes' because they look like a cross between a bumblebee and a mosquito, hundreds have been spotted in recent weeks in the West Midlands and East Anglia.
Although they are native to the UK, in previous years they have rarely been seen in this country except near marshland, and are far more common in places like North America and Europe.

Pugh on... the invasion of the beesquito

However, warmer weather means sightings in UK gardens have rocketed and the numbers are expected to increase as summer approaches.
Up to an inch long, the Bombylius major is a large furry fly which mimics the behaviour of a bee to ward off predators, as it is unable to sting or bite.
Its spike is actually a very long slender tongue called a proboscis, which can suck the nectar out of hyacinths and primroses in a similar way to butterflies and moths.
The large bee fly even flicks its eggs into the soil burrows of solitary bees so when they hatch, the larvae can feast on the pollen and nectar they bring back for their own young.
Stuart Hine, an entomologist at the Natural History Museum, said: 'We have had a lot of calls from people saying they have seen a sinister-looking insect in their garden which looks like a cross between a bee and a mosquito.
'It's not surprising that people think they will be stung or bitten or both. But actually they are gorgeous little things which are totally harmless. It's great to see them at the start of Spring. They used to be mainly in the countryside but they are venturing into towns and gardens more and more.'
Anne Orgee, 43, photographed one feasting on a lavender plant outside her home in Hereford last week. She said: 'I was absolutely amazed, it looked like some kind of cross between a bee and a honeysuckle bird.'

source: dailymail