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Bumblebee host for Volucella zonaria?
#1 Print Post
Posted on 08-11-2022 12:08

Posts: 8
Joined: 26.11.13

Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me, but I spotted a Volucella zonaria at the entrance of a bumblebee nest (Bombus terrestris or B. lucorum I think).

It was seen on the bank of a shaded, hedge-lined walking path leading up to ‘Back Tor’ near Edale in the Peak District, Derbyshire UK, in August this year.

There was a frequent traffic of bees coming and going at the nest entrance and the fly was maybe 30 cm from entrance when I first noticed it. Each time a bee came or went, the fly got quite animated, either walking or making little ‘hops’ closer to the entrance. Sadly, I got called away and when I returned it had gone – either inside or flew off I don’t know.

Just googling I see that V. bombylans uses bumblebee nests but does anyone know of V. zonaria opportunistically using bumblebees as hosts?

#2 Print Post
Posted on 08-11-2022 14:34

Location: Franconia, Germany
Posts: 3279
Joined: 11.11.18

Hi Chris, V. zonaria uses nest of wasps (Vespula germanica & vulgaris and Vespa crabro). See: De Nederlandse Zweefvliegen by Reemer, Zeegers et al. I think they use other social wasps and bees, too.
Edited by eklans on 08-11-2022 14:35
Greetings, Eric Kloeckner
#3 Print Post
Posted on 08-11-2022 20:43

Posts: 8
Joined: 26.11.13

Thanks Eric. Yes I was just thinking about the increased frequency of V. zonaria and its northern expansion. I imagine the milder climate is both positive for them and their usual wasp hosts but successfully using nests of common bumblebee might also increase numbers I guess.
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Date and time
09 December 2023 16:46


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