Bumblebee mimic scarab beetle

2008 September 13

S_ spotted this one buzzing across the kitchen in late July. It was moving pretty fast, and was hard to see clearly, but it sure looked and acted like a small bumblebee. But then, it landed on the window where I was able to catch it, and it turned out to be this:

It is one of the Hairy Flower Scarabs, genus Trichiotinus. Based on the pictures and the range map, I’m inclined to think that it is Trichiotinus assimilis. It really does look a lot like a bumblebee when it is flying, and as you can see from the underside, it has fuzz just like a bumblebee does.

I unfortunately didn’t get it to unfurl its wings for pictures, but the wings are shorter and more bee-like than is typical for beetles. They fly during the day from flower to flower, just like a bee would, and eat nectar and pollen. Their larvae live in rotting wood, though, so that’s where the resemblance to bees ends.

Once again, we have something mimicking a stinging insect. It’s obvious why mimics tend to mimic creatures that can fight back: it isn’t going to do you any good to pretend to be something innocuous like a cricket. You want to look dangerous.

3 Responses
  1. September 13, 2008

    Nice one!

  2. Keith Klassen permalink
    August 20, 2018

    I have a small apple orchard and these bumblebee beetles are alwys coming in fall just before picking season and devouring on my apples. I had 6 of them in one apple today. Any ideas on how to rid them as the spray I use is supposed to be discontinued 2 weeks before picking. I am in central MN.

  3. Michele Engholm permalink
    August 31, 2021

    From my reading, they generally go for damaged fruit and veg. I have them on my cherry tomatoes that have split

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