Belongs to: hoverflies

Bumblebee hoverfly Volucella bombylans

Best time to see: May to end Aug

Key facts

A hoverfly that looks like a bumblebee to deter predators

Habitat: woodland margins, urban wasteland and sometimes gardens


One of the largest hoverflies at 20mm long, with a furry body like a bumblebee

Red-tailed and white-tailed forms, mimicking different species of bumblebee


The female crawls cautiously into wasp nests to lay its eggs

The developing hoverfly larvae feed on debris within the nest, and perhaps for that reason are tolerated by their hosts

They pupate in the ground below the nest and emerge the following spring

© Tony Gunton