This little beauty turned up in my garden in Abbeymead at the weekend and was photographed on my Blackberry bush, it is a female of the species Volucella zonaria, the Hornet Mimic Hoverfly. Little was perhaps the wrong word, it was actually quite large at 20mm long…!
David Iliff, county Ladybird and Hoverfly recorder says “A very fine female V. zonaria. The species seems to be having a good year in the county”.
“Volucella zonaria, the hornet mimic hoverfly, is a European species of hoverfly.
In Great Britain, it was only known from two specimens prior to 1940, so was regarded as rare. Since then, it has become increasingly widespread in many parts of the South and South East England, often in association with parks and gardens, where adults are usually seen visiting flowers. Elsewhere in England, only a few scattered records exist. The larvae live as commensals in nests of wasps of the genus Vespula. Like all Volucella, the adults are migratory”.
More authoritative information is available at: http://www.hoverfly.org.uk/viewtopic.php?t=45