Can be seen feeding at flowers, such as Bugle, louseworts and Marsh Thistle. Can be confused with the Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth (H. fuciformis), although that species has broader bands on the outer edges of the wings, in particular on the hindwing.

Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth has two blackish bands on the abdomen, obscured by golden hairs, although these can wear off with time making the bands appear more extensive. The large bee fly (Bombylius major) is smaller than either of the bee hawk-moths and has the proboscis (tongue) forward-pointing.

Overwinters as a pupa, the larva feeding from late April until mid August, depending on season and location.

Size and Family

  • Family – Hawk-moths (Sphingidae)
  • Medium Sized 
  • Wingspan range - 41-46mm

Conservation status

  • UK BAP: Priority Species
  • Nationally Scarce

Caterpillar Food Plants

Devil's-bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis), sometimes Small Scabious (Succisa columbaria) and Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis)


Unimproved grassland, such as damp pasture and chalk downland.


  • Countries – England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland
  • Southern and south-western England, very local in the West Midlands, East Anglia and parts of Wales. More widely distributed in Scotland and parts of Northern Ireland.
  • Distribution Trend Since 1970’s = Britain: Suspected stable
Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth by Richard Fox

Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth