Wing length 12 - 14mm. Smaller than but similar to Volucella zonaria. V. inanis lacks the other specie's chestnut on the first segment and scutellum, showing three yellow segments. The thorax has a large, broken edged patch of black on it whereas, on V. zonaria, the thorax is chestnut. It also has less black underneath than the larger fly.
Woodland edge, hedgerows and gardens. The larvae develop in wasp nests, feeding on detritus and wasp grubs.
Status and distribution
A southern species that is rapidly spreading northwards but is also contracting eastwards. Common on the reserve, favouring shaded areas with umbellifers.
Best time to see
June to September.