Bee-fly Watch has been running since 2016, and since then 24,492 records of the four species of Bombylius bee-fly have been contributed. The main purpose of Bee-fly Watch is to encourage people to enjoy watching bee-flies! In addition, the records help us to monitor changes in the distribution and flight period of the flies.
The four species are:
|Flight period and distribution
|Earliest ever sighting
|A spring species (most records in March–May), widespread and common across the UK except in upland areas
|9 February (in 2022)
|A spring species (most records in March–May), fairly common in southern parts of England and Wales, range expanding northwards
|15 March (in 2017)
|A summer species (most records in May–July), fairly common in Wales and south-west England, and appears to have been lost from the more northerly parts of its former range
|26 April (in 2020)
|A summer species (most records in July–August), restricted to sandy habitats in Dorset and the Isle of Man
|23 June (in 2020)
Thanks to the Bee-fly Watch records, we know that the timing of bee-fly emergence each year is closely tied to the temperature and sunshine levels in early spring. In 2023 we had a relatively cool spring, and bee-flies were very late to emerge, but then rapidly climbed to a peak at the beginning of April. In contrast, 2022 got off to a very early start in a warm weather, but the peak in April was much less pronounced.
Distribution maps are shown below, based on all the recording scheme records for all years. To explore the maps in more detail visit the map pages on iRecord:
A summary of the Bee-fly Watch records from 2023 can be seen below.