Flying Insect Predator
The Robber Fly is here in Tennessee, you just have a hard time spotting them. If you do happen to see one, it would probably be hiding in a heavily covered area of plants or in the soil. They only come out during the hottest hours of a sunny day to hunt. And when they are out they are mostly in flight or hiding in a strike pose ready to capture their prey. The Robber Fly is a true predator and only feeds on other insects and their larvae. And as stated, they spend a lot of time flying, so they catch most of their prey in the air. They are so adept at air attacks and voracious predators that they even attack and kill large Bumble Bees.
Robber Flies are fairly large themselves, being up to 1 ¾” Long and ½” in diameter. They are distinctive looking with large bristles on their head that make it look as if they have a moustache. These flies are long and skinny and range from a dark gray or black in color and look very hairy with bristles covering most of their bodies. They have two large compound eyes with a large indentation between them. The Robber Fly is quite intimidating looking, so they match their aggressive predatory behavior.
The Robber Fly quickly soars through fields looking to swoop in like a hawk on any flying insect. They are not very particular in diet as they will kill and eat Bumble Bees, Moths, Ants, Wasps, Crickets, Butterflies, Dragonflies and Honey Bees. They will literally eat any insect that flies. Some will hide out near a hive and just wait to pick off single bees as they are coming and going from their home. They will attack, hold its prey with their legs and bite them thus injecting their venom. This venom kills the prey and also helps turn it into a more liquid state for the Robber Fly to suck up and eat the insect leaving a hollow shell. Although they are natural born killers, they also have their fair share of predators including birds, praying mantis, spiders and assassin bugs. Another reason that we rarely see them, is that they all have their territory, so you will usually only see one if you get that rare chance. If an adult Robber Fly invades the territory another Robber Fly, they are likely to become a cannibalistic meal.
Robber Flies are not like normal flies with very short life spans; rather they can live up to 3 months. During these 3 months, they eat and mate. The female will lay her eggs on vegetation or in the soil, have five stages of development and the eggs overwinter to continue the long growth process. The eggs while in the larvae stage move around to feed on eggs of other insects much like they do as adults, sucking the insides out. The process from egg to adult can take from one to three years.
We are relatively safe from this ruthless killer, as Robber Flies do not have stingers. They can bite if threatened which will be quite painful, but is not harmful in general. Either way do not attempt to handle a Robber Fly unless you want to risk a bite. The Robber Fly is not a Nashville Pest Control issue; rather they can help control the populations of other flying insects including the common house fly around your home. However if you are experiencing an uninvited pest at your home make sure to call Certified Pest Control Nashville. We can provide year round pest control and deliver local family service without pesky commissioned sales people. We at Certified Pest Control are just family, and would love to become part of your family.