Hornet Moth

Subject: Bees Wasps
Location: Soham Cambridgeshire UK
May 3, 2013 3:47 pm
Dear Sir.
I saw this bug on a tree in Soham Cambridgeshire UK almost a year ago.
I have had no way of uploading the picture till now as not had a computer.
It was a lovely sunny day in June of last year 2012.
It is about an inch in length, with a blue band around it;s’ middle. I have
never seen one of these before and was wondering if it is a rare species to this country
or it may have got lost on its travels. I didn’t notice any stinger on it.
If you could help I would be most appreciated.
Signature: Nick Halliday

Hornet Moth
Hornet Moth:  Sesia apiformis

Dear Nick,
This clever little mimic could fool most folks.  This is not a bee nor a wasp.  It is a Hornet Moth,
Sesia apiformis, a moth that mimics a stinging hornet as a means of protective coloration.  According to UK Moths:  “Rather similar to the Lunar Hornet Moth, this species can easily be distinguished by the yellow head and tegulae.  It has a more southerly distribution than that species, rarely being encountered north of the Midlands.  The larvae burrow into the wood of black poplar (Populus nigra), and other species of poplar.  The moths emerge in June and July, and can be found low down on the trunks in early to mid morning.”  The Hornet Moth is in the family Sesiidae, the Clearwings, which includes many species with similar protective coloration and markings.

2 thoughts on “Hornet Moth”

  1. We live in the South Hams, Devon. We saw this beautiful, dragonfly as we thought. It was Hornet coloured, about 50mm long, clear winged, just like a dragonfly. It was flying around our big garden pond for about five minutes. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time,or speed,to take a photo. We’ve never seen one of these before, so we looked it up. Pretty sure it’s a Hornet Moth. One site said they like Poplar & Willow trees. We have a Willow, right beside the pond, surrounded by dense planting. Hope this is of some help to you.


Leave a Comment