Volucella bombylans

Volucella bombylans (Linnaeus, 1758)

Biology & ecology:

The larva is a scavenger and a predator in nests of bumblebees, where they probably feed on larvae and pupae. The adults are convincing bumblebee mimics, occurring in two main colour forms, one of which mimics red-tailed, the other white-tailed bumblebees. They are often found visiting flowers or resting on sunny vegetation along woodland edges, rides and glades, mature hedgerows or in scrub. This species occurs rather earlier in the season than other members of the genus.


Widespread and common throughout Britain, including a number of Scottish islands.

Status & conservation:

The frequency of occurrence shows a small but significant increase over the past 20 years.

Recorded from 1477 hectads since 1990.