Bee Wolf - Philanthus triangulum

Alternative names

The Bee Wolf is one of the largest (up to 17 mm) and most spectacular solitary wasp species in Britain. It can be distinguished by the unfolded wings and thickened antennae.  The abdomen and face are extensively yellow and the back of the head behind the eyes is reddish-brown. The wing venation will confirm identification.

Identification difficulty

Generally, sand dunes and lowland heaths. However, nesting aggregations have recently been found in a park in Ipswich, Suffolk, and on the Battersea Bridge roundabout, Greater London.

When to see it

From early July to mid September.

Life History

The major prey species throughout the world range of this wasp is the worker honey bee (Apis mellifera).

UK Status

In the 1990s this species was considered to be one of the great aculeate rarities in Britain. Records for the last few years indicate that currently the species is increasingly common in a steadily increasing number of sites in southern England.

VC55 Status

Still uncommon in Leicestershire and Rutland.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map