Bee-hawks, Bee-falcons


Image Credit: gailhampshire

Bee-hawks, Bee-falcons (Sphecidae: Bembicini; Palarini; Philanthidae)  - predators on pollenivores – Three different groups of solitary wasps attack bees.  The Philanthidae (formerly placed as a subfamily of the Sphecidae) all feed upon bees and other wasps, which they catch on flowers (or flying to and fro) and then feed to the larvae in their nests. The host range for the different species of philanthids is poorly known. The genus Bembix (in the Bembicini) are large, beautifully-colored, forbidding predators. They seem to feed principally on flies, but some prefer bees. As pollinators they are more adapted, because they all possess very elongated mouthparts to harvest nectar from all but the longest tubular flower species. Palarus (in the Palarini) also feeds upon bees and wasps.

Beehawk1 Beehawk2

Beehawk3 Beehawk4

The Philanthus (top row) can usually be distinguished from other solitary wasps (but not some hornets) by their slight constriction between the first and second abdominal segment (examine upper right profile). Bembix is distinguished by the long face and tongue. Palarus is on the lower right.