Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Musca virginiensis, Syrphus trifasciatus, Milesia ornata, Milesia limbipennis (doubtful see types), Sphyxea fulvifrons
Explanation of Names
Milesia virginiensis (Drury 1773)
Large syrphid that resembles a hornet; has much lighter wings, wider dark bands on abdomen than M. scutellata(1)
believed to be a mimic of the Southern Yellowjacket
e. NA (ON-MN south to FL-TX)(2)
Forest edges and meadows.
Mid-summer into early fall: Jun-Aug in OK(1)
, May-Nov in NC(3)
Larva live in rot-holes and decaying wood of deciduous trees.
Flies aggressively and buzzes like a hornet. In the south, sometimes called the '[good] news bee' for its habit of hovering in front of a person "giving the news". It is also said to be good luck if one can get the insect to perch on a finger, no doubt because this is difficult to do(4)
Milesia virginiensis on the 33 cent postage stamp by U.S. Postal Service October, 1999 by artist Steve Buchanan.
Holotype as Musca virginiensis by Drury, 1773. Type Locality: Virginia. The Drury collections was sold off to various entomologists, including Fabricius, a personal friend.
Holotype as Syrphus trifasciatus by Hausmann, 1799. Type Locality: America. Museum unknown (German).
Holotype as Milesia ornata by Fabricius, 1805. Type Locality: Carolina (U.S.A.). Most of Fabricius’ collection is at the University of Copenhagen, Zoological Museum, Denmark.
Holotype as Milesia limbipennis by Macquart, 1850. Type Locality: Java. Many Macquart types are in Bigot’s collection which is divided between the University Museum at Oxford and the British Museum of Natural History, London, England. Also, Macquart types are scattered among a number of museums, with his personal collection deposited in Lille. Payen, who collected the specimen traveled to Java per Cincinnati Quarterly Journal of Science, 1874, Vol. 1, pg. 168.
Holotype as Sphyxea fulvifrons male by Bigot, 1883. Type Locality: Georgia. Bigot types are divided between the University Museum at Oxford and the British Museum Natural History, London, England.
Illustrations of Exotic Entomology, 1773, Vol. 2 by Drury, pg. 77.
Entomologische Bemerkungen, 1799 by J.F.L. Hausmann, pg. 37.
Systema Antilatorum: Secundum Ordines, Genera, Species, 1805 by Fabricius, pg. 188.
Histoire Naturelle des Insectes. Dipteres exotiques nouveaux, 1850, Vol. 4 Supplemental 2B, pp. 202-203 and Table 4, fig. 6.
Natural History of New York, 1854, Vol. 5, by Emmons pg. 183.
Annales de la Societe Entomologique de France, 1883, Series 6, Vol. 3 by Bigot, pp. 341-342.
Bulletin of the United States National Museum, 1886, Vol. 31: Syrphidae by Williston, pp. 255 to 256.
Ohio State University, 1953: Thesis Weems Syrphidae, pg. 418.
Diptera Digest JESO (Journal Ent. Soc of Ontario) - 2014, Vol. 19 #2 Summer Bulletin: Milesia virginiensis used on an American stamp in 1999 – 33 cent. Art done by Steve Buchanan.