University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

Mystery Bug Answers


Mystery Picture #14

(Mystery Pictures)(Mystery Pictures)


The termite is a small, pale, soft-bodied insect that lives in colonies in wood or underground. Within the colony, its brothers and sisters perform in different roles or castes, including reproductives, secondary reproductives, workers and soldiers. This individual is a soldier. Its job is to defend the colony from intruders. You can tell it is a soldier by its large head and mandibles.


This harmless insect might fool you. This is a bee fly. Although it looks like a bee, it is really a fly. Its color pattern and behavior might save its life if a predator such as a bird mistakes it for a bee and leaves it alone for fear of getting stung. These individuals are usually medium to large in size and are found on flowers or resting on the ground in open areas. At rest, it holds its single pair of wings outstretched. It has long extended mouthparts, called a proboscis, that it uses like a straw to sip nectar; it does not bite or sting.

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