Identification: Mason Bees or House Flies

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by mark sooke, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. mark sooke

    mark sooke Member

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    Location:
    Sooke, BC, Canada
    I have a new property in Sooke. The old owners left me some fruit trees and there is also a bee nesting box nearby. Two weeks ago (beginning of March) I noticed lots of house flies outside in the sunshine. I assumed they were house flies but people have told me they are mason bees because house flies don't emerge this early. Can someone confirm this? Is there an easy way to tell the difference?
     
  2. Lisa Hartley

    Lisa Hartley Member

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    vancouver
    can't answer your question but would add my own.
    I have Mason Bees, I live in East Vancouver, and I'm wondering when to put them out. I've always waited until my cherry blooms in the yard and on the street but that means waiting another few weeks.
    (I have late bloomers)

    As for telling the difference between bees and flies, capture one... if it doesn't look like a fly it's a bee.
    Lisa
     
  3. Ralph Walton

    Ralph Walton Active Member 10 Years

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    Denman Island,BC
    Mason bees are a lot more hairy than any of the common houseflies, and as well they hold their wings closer to their bodies (houseflies often have a delta shape). A sunny day at this time of year can hatch a swarm of houseflies, but the masons are also starting.
    If you have a sunny white wall covered with black dots, that's more likely to be flies. If they are inside the house, that's also most likely flies.

    Ralph
     
  4. englak

    englak Active Member 10 Years

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    Lisa,

    My mason bees started hatching a week or so ago, so I put them out.
     
  5. Grant Gussie

    Grant Gussie Active Member

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    Location:
    Salt Spring Island
    Flys have short clublike antennae and only one pair of wings. Bees have longer segmented antennae and two pairs of wings, but the separation between the fore wings and the hind wings is not obvious, so they look like they have only one pair of wings as well. Basically, you have to look at the antennae - if the antennae are long and "mobile", its a bee. Which means you need to get really close to one to be sure.
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Apart from differences in appearance behavior of the two completely different, mason bees work flowers and return to hives - they are "busy bees". House flies walk around on surfaces in and near households, in a zigzag fashion, tasting them for treats. They can detect food odors etc. and will "fly" right in open doors in a "beeline".
     
  7. mark sooke

    mark sooke Member

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    Thanks for all the advice. Based on what you said, I suspect they were house flies. I'll have a closer look if I see them again.
     
  8. SummerBug

    SummerBug Member

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    Mason bees are a common problem, my mom used to live out in sooke and she had quite a few, however i would also assume houseflies, i have attached a picture of a mason bee just so you have something to go by
     

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