news bee n Also news bug, ~ fly [See quots] chiefly Midl
A hover fly n or similar insect.
1883 Connersville Examiner (IN) 22 Aug 1/4, [Short story:] Ma scolded me, saying: “I seen a news-bee this morning come right in the dining-room, and I’ll bet anything Percy’s heard something strange.” 1899 Bergen Animal Lore 40 eKS, If a beetle, commonly called the “news-bug,” fly through the house, the occupants of the house are going to hear news. 1914 Crain Mt. Boy’s Life 16 nwSC, The mountain people. . . have a notion that the black news-fly brings bad luck, but that the yellow one brings good luck. 1917 NY Entomol. Soc. Jrl. 25.144 cVA, Some expressions borrowed from the colored people . . [include] “news fly” for Milesia virginiensis suggested by its habit of remaining near one on the wing, but stationary as if it were trying by its buzzing to convey news of some kind. 1929 Wall No-Nation Girl 22 sLA, Precieuse. . . believed implicitly in signs and portents. A yellow news-bug meant good news, a black one, bad. 1935 Hyatt Folkl. Adams Co. IL 60, When one of those ‘news flies’ (any kind of large fly that continually darts about a person) comes and buzzes around you, you are going to hear some good news. 1949 Webber Backwoods Teacher 201 Ozarks, When a yellow news bee hovers around you it means you’ll get a letter with good news, and . . a black one foretells bad news. The news bee is as long as the finger. He can hover in one spot, with his wings making a high-pitched sound which can be heard for many yards, and then dart so fast that he is suddenly in another spot “without having moved.” His abdomen does not appear to hold a stinger and perhaps he is not a bee at all. 1967–68 DARE FW Addit AR46, News bee—a buzzing, wasplike insect that alternately hovers around in one spot and flies almost faster than the eye can see; its buzz sounds faintly like a human voice; LA41, News bee—a large, yellowish bee that buzzes in a stationary position, then speeds away; it hums like a voice. 1968 Haun Hawk’s Done Gone 211 eTN, “I don’t reckon he means no harm by jowing with women folks, does he?” “No more harm than a news bee. That’s just his way.” 1968 DARE (Qu. R12) Inf VA15, News bee = letter carrier—yellow, look like a sweat bee, don’t sting; letter toter—supposed to carry good news; (Qu. R21, . . Other kinds of stinging insects) Inf NC54, News bee—doesn’t sting. 1971 Foxfire Winter 254 nGA, Nora Garland . . talked at length about the “news bees” that are so common around here: “Well, now, there’s yeller ones—that’s good news—and they’s black ones, and that’s bad news.” 1986 Pederson LAGS Concordance, 2 infs, TN, News bee(s); 1 inf, cwAL, A news bee—he just come around a-buzzing. 2012 in 2017 DARE File—Internet sAppalachians, The folklore I learned as a child: News bees hover around close to folks . . because they are listening. After listening to the latest news, the bees take it back through the community sharing the information along the way. . . [Resp:] My News Bees are the hornets known as Cicada Killers. Learned of them when I was young from my mother’s side. . . (North Middle Tenn.). 2014 Ibid swVA, I think it is really called a yellow jacket hover fly but I’ve always heard it called a “news bee”. Southern folklore says that as it is hovering and buzzing it is telling you the news. I remember my grandfather snatching one with his bare hand out of the air as it hovered. They don’t have stingers and are harmless.