This hoverfly looks remarkably like a bee, and exists in two different forms where var bomylans mimics the Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius) and var plumata mimcis the White-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lucorum). It is distinguished from similar hoverflies by having a hairy body. Length 15mm.
The larvae are scavengers of wasp nests and feed on debris and even the host’s own larvae.
Seen May to August. Found in many habitats, including hedgerows and gardens. A widespread and common species.
Photographs 0f Volucella bombylans taken June 2012, local woodland margin, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2012. Camera used Nikon Coolpix P500.