I saw this on Sunday 21st July 2013 on my compost bin, it was at least 2 inches long, the metal grill you see it on has squares which are 1 inch by 1 inch and diagonally covers 2, It had 4 wings, antennae which seemed elbow type jointed. It was also partially furry/hairy It was very hot on the day I saw it and it seemed very docile, almost like it could not fly properly.
I add that I am not frightened at all of bees, wasps etc, but this was huge and I have never seen anything like it before. I have researched via the NHM, the internet and another forum to no avail, I have ruled out hornet (body is not the correct shape), wasp (not the correct shape).
I am wondering whether it is a bug on holiday from abroad.
I ssupect it's a queen cuckoo bumble bee. It's big because it's a queen, and they're less hairy than normal bumble bees and have browner wings. If I'm right it'll be looking to take over a bumble bee colony soon.
I see what you mean about the wings jag, at least in the top image, but the yellow/orange on the front of the thorax, the scutellum and T1/T2 I can't shoehorn it in to likely suspects. Whatever it is it is certainly a very denuded example and I wonder if it is Bombus hortorum
You could be right, my suggestion was just a hunch.
Thanks both, I have had a look at bombus hortorum and cuckoo bee, I really don't think it's either of them, they don't have the same shape
It is a bizarre looking thing, any more ideas