Volucella inanis is one of Britain’s larger hoverflies at 12 - 14 millimetres in length, only beaten in the length stakes by Volucella zonaria, which measures between 15 and 20 millimetres. Note the plume-like antennae that is visible in these photographs.
This hoverfly is a wasp mimic, but neither stings nor bites. Unlike wasps, in flight they are more or less silent, moving about without the characteristic buzzing sound that wasps make. It is a harmless pollinator.
These hoverflies lay eggs in the underground nests of social wasps. When they hatch, the larvae feed on the wasp grubs.
Volucella inanis is on the Sussex Rare Species Inventory.