Hoverfly: Volucella zonaria

This hoverfly, Volucella zonaria, is yet another that mimics other, more fearsome, insects; in this case the hornet. Hornets are renowned for having a very painful sting and some people are terrified of them although the number of cases of hornet stings I believe is very low as there are few hornets these days and, in any event, they do not sting unless under threat. Sadly, this lovely, harmless hoverfly can strike panic in to people when it turns up in their gardens looking for nectar supplies.
Volucella zonaria is the largest species of hoverfly found in Britain and its appearance as a hornet mimic has a purpose, they lay their eggs in hornets nests but, more often, also in wasps nests where the larvae feed on debris in the bottom of the nest. That disguise certainly helps them avoid attack!
This is a fairly recent coloniser of southern Britain being first recorded in the 1930's. After establishing itself in the London area it has now spread west and north and can be found in Dorset quite frequently, especially around Bournemouth and Poole. It is very fond of buddleja and other such shrubs often found in gardens where it is most often seen. I suppose 

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