Bee Survey Update: hover flies and progress of the week

Weekly progress:

Last week we sorted two kits: K. Orosz (Carroll County) and H. Scott (Brown County) and finished the rest of the kit by C. Carrol (Hancock County). We are over 14,400 bees pinned and databased. We did not identify any additional bees last week as I spent more time sorting kits and also helping with the hoverfly bycatch.

We have been pretty consistent with the number of bees pinned by week. I did not keep track of our pinning progress that well towards the beginning, so this graph is from mid-December till now. We have slowly but steadily been increasing our number of specimens pinned each week. If we get more volunteers in the lab, I hope to get this number to go up a lot.

Bycatch of the week:

I bet you were not expecting yet another fly! There have been an abundance of flies in the samples, but this is the first Flat-footed fly that I have noticed. It was in a sample by H. Scott.

The hindleg is quite expanded.
Most Flat-footed flies (Platypezidae) are associated with fungi.

The leafhopper people were particularly excited for this otherwise drab specimen collected by K. Orosz. This specimen is somewhat unique with its rounded head and very rarely encountered. There are only 2 other photos of this species on iNaturalist despite this being a somewhat large leafhopper.

K. Orosz also had a fly that was practically ready to burst with eggs! Check out all the eggs that you can see through the “skin” of the fly.

Hover fly project:
Our undergraduate assistant Eleanor has taken up a side project with the bycatch hover flies. In the next few weeks we will have a writeup of what she has found so far. I spent an hour or so last week photographing a few of the weirder specimens. So below are a few previews to keep you excited about even more bycatch.

Our most common hoverflies by a wide margin are the ones in the genus Toxomerus. This one was collected by N. Helm.

However, there have been some fun weird hover flies like this ant parasite from the kit by Diltz.

The hoverflies that have been causing us headaches are the small black hoverflies in the Tribe Pipizini. Small patches of hair behind the head and under the wings are the characters to separate the genera. The hairs can be a bit annoying to try to see as they are so small and our specimens so bedraggled from their water collection. The flies are really fragile, so we cannot wash them to clean them up either. This specimen was collected by Capuzzi.

Photographable bee species list for Ohio:

Example of part of the list. Click link here to get full pdf: Ohio Bee Species Checklist -1

L. Lebovitz has created a “life list” for species that have been documented in Ohio via iNaturalist. So if you are looking for bees to chase that you might be able to photograph instead of collecting, this list is a good place to start. Note that there is also a column for whether the specimens need collected to verify an ID (M in the micro ID) or if they can be temporarily held (hand in micro ID) to get the right images or views of structures. She also added the Growing Degree Day (GDD) calculation to help you get an idea of when things should emerge near you. See file here: Ohio Bee Species Checklist -1

More bee resources:

Although it is for Oregon, there are several good bee resources that are applicable to Ohio on the Oregon Bee Atlas page.  See:

Specifically, you might find the Cheat Sheet to Bee Genera somewhat helpful for our common bee genera (here in Ohio or Oregon).

Helping in the lab in the age of Covid:

The lab is open to people interested in helping pin or sort specimens on a very limited basis. For now, the following caveats must be reached. 1) if you have managed to get both doses of a covid vaccine, or 2) you have already gotten covid, recovered, and can show both + then – covid tests. If you fit one of these exceptions and want to come to the lab to help out, please send an email to MaLisa at

Want to see how to get vaccinated against Covid-19 in Ohio or see if you qualify yet? See the vaccine distribution website here:
Update: Dewine just announced that Ohioans 50 and older will be able to get the vaccine starting THIS Thursday. So many of you are likely now eligible or close to being eligible.

Upcoming events:

March 13th, 2-3 pm. Jason Dombroskie – Moths: What we don’t know and what you can do about it. – a talk on documenting moths and butterflies in your own backyard. Watch/register here:

That is all for now,


2 thoughts on “Bee Survey Update: hover flies and progress of the week

    • Well that was a failed attempt to upload a pic of a mining bee I saw today here in Cincinnati (actually Milford)! Woot!

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