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These are the big beasties of the hoverfly world, the bumblebee, wasp and hornet mimics. Though their size can be a little intimidating, they are all completely harmless to humans, and wonderful to watch going about their daily lives. There are actually five Volucella species in Britain – the woodland species Volucella inflata does occur locally (see A new hoverfly, June 2020) but I’ve not noticed one this year. The big four below are Volucella bombylans, Volucella pellucens (commonly known as the Great pied hoverfly, due to its colouring), Volucella inanis and Volucella zonaria – these are the two mostly easily confused with each other but the most obvious difference is the chestnut colouring of V. zonaria‘s thorax.

220823 volucella hoverflies