Hornet Moth

  • Hornet Moth
    Hornet Moth

Scientific name: Sesia apiformis

Mid-June to July, sometimes early August. A bulky moth as large as a true Hornet but without the narrow waist and more yellow in colour.

Similar in appearance to the Lunar Hornet Moth it can be distinguished by the yellow patches on the head and shoulder and a black collar. The adults can be found resting on poplar trunks after they have emerged in June.

They overwinter at least twice as larvae for the first and sometimes second winter and as fully grown larvae in cocoons for the second or third winter. They mainly feed on the wood just below the bark surface near ground level and emerge from a hole near the base of the trunk.

Size and Family

  • Family – Clearwing moths (Sesiidae)
  • Medium Sized
  • Wingspan Range – 34-42mm

Conservation status

  • UK BAP: Not listed
  • Nationally Scarce B

Caterpillar Food Plants

Black-poplar (Populus nigra), Aspen (Populus tremula), and other poplars


Parks, hedgerows, golf courses, quarries, fens, pond edges and pits, particularly where there are trees in open habitats.


  • Countries – England and Wales
  • Nationally Scarce B. Mainly found in southern and eastern England, East Anglia and the Midlands. Has also been recorded in Wales in Denbighshire, Flintshire and Glamorgan.