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Greetings, I live in Sonoma County California, the western side of the county with a rich population of paper wasps, honey bees, yellow jackets, flies that look like bees, bees that look like flies:::: after an amazingly rain sodden, cold winter, we have seen daily a kind of bee that in 7 years of living here have never before. It looks very much like a "normal" honey bee, except it is about 1/2 times again larger and much more pronouncedly yellow in its yellow bands (still yellow-black bands, but yellow bands wider and more brilliant)... No swarm activity, sightings are solo and they seem drone-y in behavior... lots of buzzing and busyness. Not too interested in me (though I'm not getting too close, the size is really remarkable)... My bee guides aren't helping...

anyone out there to help ID or speculate?
supporter of local beehive activity
thanks in advance
StellaSturm
 

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Merest speculation here...we've just had something similar show up here (Alaska) in the last few years- never seen before that. ENORMOUS bee-like bugs! Almost the size of hummingbirds, very loud buzzing sound. Brilliant yellow bands, like you said. I think I read somewhere that they're some sort of bumble bee, but now I can't recall where I saw the info about them...
 

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Stella, this sounds exactly like the critter that was hanging around my hives for a while and I had posted for an I.D (definitely a bee; not a wasp/hornet/etc; 1 to 1/1/2 times larger than a honeybee; drone like). By the time I returned a couple of days later to try to take a picture, they were gone. Haven't seen them since. Loren I think you're talking about the hummingbird moth http://yahooligans.yahoo.com/content/animals/species/2812.html which is much larger than the "mystery bug" Stella's talking about.
 
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