Volucella pellucens

Volucella pellucens (Linnaeus, 1758)

Biology & ecology:

The larva is a scavenger and a predator in the bottom of the nests cavity of of social wasps (including the Hornet Vespa crabro), where they feed on debris such as dropped food items, moribund wasp larvae and pupae and other insects which inhabit the nests. At the end of the season, when the nest is abandoned by the wasps, larvae have occasionally been found on the comb feeding directly on the remaining wasp larvae. It is found in all sorts of woodland and scrub and around large hedgerows. It also occurs in suburban parks and large, mature gardens. Adults visit a wide range of flowers, but especially Hogweed Heracleum sphondylium. Males are frequently seen hovering high up in a sunbeam over tracks in woodland rides and glades which they defend against other males. A mark-release-recapture study in Northamptonshire showed that a male may hold the same territory for several successive days (Ball & Morris, 2004).

Distribution:

Widespread and common throughout Britain, especially near woodland or scrub.

Status & conservation:

No obvious trend.

Recorded from 1647 hectads since 1990.