Lunar Hornet Moth Sesiidae

Sesia bembeciformis (Hubner, 1797)

Description: Wingspan 32-44. Adults resemble a large hornet with distinctive yellow banding on the abdomen and a yellow collar at the back of the head. The wings after emergence lose most of their scales leaving a transparent window. They are most active in sunshine but are seldom seen except by accident, or at rest on the tree trunk after emergence in early morning. The pupal exuvia are often seen protruding from the exit holes on the trunk of the host tree.

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Late June to end of July.

Status: Widely distributed but local and possibly declining. However, the elusive nature of this species makes it difficult to ascertain its true distribution. In recent years it has been found in a number of new sites following specific searches. It has been recorded from all counties, but the vast majority of recent records come from north Armagh and western counties. Most colonies have been detected by the discovery of exit holes on old sallows growing on bogs and fens. The most reliable locality where adults have been observed in numbers is Crom in Fermanagh.

Ecology: Found in damp woodland and marshy areas where mature willows grow. Adults seem to prefer old isolated trees in which to lay. The larvae feed in the roots and trunks of old sallows or willows and spend two winter periods in the larval stage.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 0371 Agassiz number: 52.003

Additional information:

UK Moths account


 Thompson, R. S. & Nelson, B., 2003 (Oct 2). [In] The Butterflies and Moths of Northern Ireland