By Christy Pitto
For The Independent
This week we meet another early spring pollinator, the Criorhina Bumblebee Mimic Fly. These savvy flies hatch at the same time bumblebee queens start buzzing about and wisely adapted that bee-ish look to keep predators at bay.
Like bees these flies (in the Syrphid fly family) are expert pollinators. The Criorhina and its cousins one up bumbles in the “darn useful insects” category. They pollinate as adults, but their larvae chow down on all types of decaying matter, enriching our soil as they dine. Some of them are even ‘filter’ flies, so named because they dine on the impurities in water, they are literal living filters.
Criorhina as a group are a model of efficiency. They improve the Upper Rogue soil and water where our fab spring flowers grow, then they pollinate the flowers so the next year’s adult population will have plenty of food and can start all over again.
They are also darn cute and fuzzy.