Bite from bee fly in Altadena, California

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Bite from bee fly in Altadena, California

Dwane Christensen
My wife hit a bee fly (bombyliidae) that was on her ankle biting her as she was pulling weeds in our yard in Altadena, California (Pasadena suburb in Southern California). After 48 hours, her ankle is pink and swollen like she got a nasty wasp sting.

Yesterday and last night, a baking soda paste gave her relief from itching. Today, Aloe Vera also helped, but her ankle also look more red afterward. Now she is soaking her foot in warm salted water. If we had insurance, I would take her to the emergency room for a doctor's opinion. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

The bee fly had white fur on its back and the long black proboscises. I have to wonder what may have been in inadvertently injected when she gave the bee fly a swat.
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Re: Bite from bee fly in Altadena, California

Bug Eric
I hope she is already recovered, and I'm sorry she had to endure that; however, I am not aware of a bee fly biting a person....ever.  I strongly suspect it was some other kind of insect.  Without seeing at least a clear image of the offender, I cannot make any kind of responsible assumption or hazard a guess.  Bee flies use the proboscis to sip nectar only, they do not have the kinds of enzymes that blood-feeding or other biting insects do.  So, even if it did bite, it would not cause that kind of reaction.
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Re: Bite from bee fly in Altadena, California

Dwane Christensen
 Thank you for your compassionate and quick reply. It's easy for me to turn my lack of understanding of what an insect's tool is actually made for (like the long black proboscis used to get to nectar in a flower) into unreasonable fear (it's not a dagger!).
 I did not see my wife swat the bee fly, even though I was just a dozen feet away, and she only told me about it 6 hours afterward when the itching on her ankle was becoming intolerable. So perhaps the bee fly was upset with her for pulling the large weed it was feeding on, or perhaps it was just hovering by her ankle and she reacted by smashing it, proboscis first, into her ankle. The picture she identified on the internet as the insect she saw had the name bombyliidae, but the picture was an insect in France. I have seen these insects hovering over desert plants near here.
 After 3 days, she is the same or better; it is too subjective to be sure, but she is not worse. Our latest trick was to smear "Vicco" toothpaste (an Ayurvedic medicinal toothpaste from India) mixed with tumeric and eucalyptus over the affected area. She reports the toothpaste is especially soothing.