Belongs to: hoverflies

Hornet-like hoverfly Volucella zonaria

Also known as: belted hoverfly

Best time to see: Jun to Oct

Key facts

The largest British hoverfly, looking like a rather fat hornet, but without a sting and harmless to people

Widespread in the south and south-east of Britain, and increasing its range northwards

Found in a wide range of habitats, including parks and gardens in urban areas


Striking chestnut, gold and black pattern on its oblong body; wings tinged with amber along the leading edge

Male hoverflies' eyes join on top of their head, whereas the females' eyes are separated

Up to 20mm long; wingspan 45mm


Females sneak into wasp nests to lay their eggs

The larvae scavenge for food in the wasp nest and may be tolerated because they keep the nest clean

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

  • photo

© Tony Gunton