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13494 Views 9 Replies Last post: Aug 5, 2011 9:48 PM by corsica RSS
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Aug 5, 2011 12:43 PM

Is this a wasp, hornet or bee?

Yesterday and today we have been visited by a large (4 - 5cm) hornet/bee/wasp-like insect.  On both occasions it has settled on the budleia flowers as if collecting pollen although today it also kept buzzing my wife as she tried to hang the washing.


We're completely confused as it had some wasp characteristics but also bee characteristics!  Unfortunately we do not have a picture but:


It does not have the wasp waist.   Instead it seemed to have a one-piece body with distinct head (almost beetle like).

It had very, very bright yellow and black stripes of uniform width but did not have the "zig-zag" markings of a wasp (you could see that clearly from at least 15 feet).

It had very large wings (not sure how many) that seemed to have an orange hue although transparent.

As said it was about 4 - 5 cm in length and was at least 4 times the size of our usual wasps (of which we have lots!).

The body was very rotund like a bee but did come to a point at the tail-end.

The body was also definitely smooth and not hairy like a bee.

The head did not seem pointed or pinched like a wasp or hornet but more rounded like a bee.

It had no problem flying (I read that hornets struggle to fly).


All in, it resembled a cartoon drawing of a bee!  The thing that really stood out was its size which seemed enormous and the brightness of the yellow stripes.


We live in south-east fringes of London if that helps.



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