Red-tailed Bumblebee

The red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidaries) is found throughout Europe and in the UK it is common. It is widespread in the south and has recently moved into northern Scotland. It is found in a variety of habitats and feeds on pollen from a wide range of plants. The queens emerge from hibernation in March, workers are present from April onwards and males and new females are seen from July to early October.

While this species is common, it is found less in upland areas probably due to their cooler conditions. It will be interesting to see if it increases in these areas due to a warming climate.

  • Queens (20-22 mm long) and workers (11-16mm long) all black with an orange-red tail
  • Males (14-16 mm long) also have yellow facial hairs and yellow bands on the thorax
  • Worker shown in illustration


Illustration (c) Chris Shields

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