Before Bees Evolved, Beetles & Flies Were Prime Pollinators
Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Bees are the first animals that come to mind when we think of pollinators. But before bees evolved, beetles and flies were already moving pollen from male flowers to female flowers in order for fertilization to occur. Flies differ from bees in several aspects. First they have only one pair of true wings. The second pair has evolved into stabilizing structures called halters. Many flies mimic bees but if you look carefully you’ll easily notice that they have only one pair of functioning wings and when at rest their wings are still extended. Also, flies tend to have much shorter antennae than bees do and larger eyes. Bees are attracted to sweet smelling flowers but Some plants attract fly pollinators with awful smells – like rotting flesh or dung! Some of those are appropriately named – skunk cabbage is a good example.