Hornet Mimic Hoverfly

Volucella zonaria

  1. Wildlife
  2. Invertebrates
  3. Flies
  4. Hornet Mimic Hoverfly


At almost 2cm long the Hornet Mimic Hoverfly (also known as the 'Belted Hoverfly') is the largest in Britain. As its name suggests, this fly is an excellent mimic of the Hornet but is harmless. Only a very rare visitor to the country up to the 1940s, in recent years it has become more common in southern England and is still spreading northwards, perhaps as a result of the warmer climate. The adults are migratory and the larvae live inside wasp's nests.

How to identify

The Hornet Mimic Hoverfly is mainly orangey-yellow on the abdomen, with dark bands and a dark brown thorax. It is our largest hoverfly. It can be distinguished from the Hornet by its much larger eyes, broader body and the lack of a sting.

Where to find it

Found in southern England and spreading north into the Midlands.


When to find it

  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October

How can people help

Many of our commonly overlooked insects are important pollinators for all kinds of plants, including those which we rely on like fruit trees. The Wildlife Trusts recognise the importance of healthy habitats to support all kinds of species throughout the food chain, so look after many nature reserves for the benefit of wildlife. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from coppicing to craft-making, to stockwatching to surveying.

Species information

Common name
Hornet Mimic Hoverfly
Latin name
Volucella zonaria
Length: 2cm
Conservation status