Volucella bombylans


This hoverfly is an excellent mimic of a bumblebee and is found throughout most of the UK. There are two main varieties which mimic different species of bumblebee, one with an orange-red tail (V. bombylans) and the other with a white tail (V. plumata). Its large size, distinctive pattern and plumed antennae make it relatively easy to identify.

Identification difficulty

Hedgerows, woodland margins and urban wasteland.

When to see it

It can be found from May until September, peaking in June.

Life History

The female lays its eggs in the nests of bumblebees and wasps where the larvae feed on debris and occasionally the bee larvae.

UK Status

Widespread and common in Britain.

VC55 Status

Common 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