Bee-fly Watch 2024

Dark-edged Bee-fly (Bombylius major) - photo by Brian Walker via iRecord
Dark-edged Bee-fly photo by Brian Walker 

Every year the Soldierflies and Allies Recording Scheme asks people to look out for bee-flies. They are the furry, hovering flies with a very long 'snout' (proboscis) that can be seen hovering over flowers in spring. There are two species that fly in the spring: Dark-edged Bee-fly (common and widespread), and Dotted Bee-fly (less common and mostly found in southern parts of England and Wales). These two spring bee-flies usually start appearing in late February or early March, and they continue flying into early June.

  • LATEST NEWS: in 2024 the first Dark-edged Bee-flies were recorded on 4 March (Essex and Isle of Wight), with the first Scottish record on 24 March. Dotted Bee-fly was first seen in Kent on 20 March. For further updates go to the latest results page.

There are two other related species that fly in the summer: Western Bee-fly (Wales and south-west England) and the very rare Heath Bee-fly (Dorset and the Isle of Man).

Identifying bee-flies

If you don't know which species of bee-fly you have seen, please add a photo of it with your record if you possibly can, so that we can check which one you've found.

Download our full bee-fly identification guide (pdf) to help learn which is which, or try the shorter two-page ID guide. You may also be able to get help with identifications via the recording scheme on Twitter (X) or on our Soldierflies Facebook group, or via the forum pages on this website (DF members only). We are also experimenting with a bee-flies and soldierflies feed on Bluesky. The tag for all our social media is #BeeFlyWatch.

Add your bee-fly sighting!

You can add records via the iRecord website or app, or by using the form below. If you have an iRecord account it is best to log in before adding a record. If you don't have an iRecord account you can still use the form below, but if you want to be able to review your records on iRecord and (optionally) to receive notifications about your records, please register with iRecord first. If you are new to bee-fly recording please add a photo to your record if you can.

For lots more information about bee-flies go to the Bee-fly Watch page on the Soldierflies and Allies Recording Scheme website.