|Volucella inanis on Succisa pratensis|
The adults reach 15–17 mm (0.59–0.67 in) long and can be encountered from early July to early September, feeding on flowers of various species such as yarrow (Achillea millefolium), dill (Anethum graveolens), heather (Erica species), thistles (genera Carduus, Cirsium, and Onopordum) and Buddleja davidii.
They have three yellow bands on an otherwise black abdomen and thus closely resemble wasps in a form of mimicry. The first two bands are completely or partially interrupted by a black wedge. The head has feather-like antennae and the wings have darkened patches in the middle and on the tip.
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