Red-tailed bumblebee Bombus lapidarius


Best time to see: Apr to end Aug

Key facts

A large bumblebee with a red tail, common throughout Britain except for the far north

Found in a wide range of both cultivated and uncultivated habitat, including public parks, gardens and hedgerows

Recognition

Queens are mainly black apart from their red tail; workers are similar but smaller, sometimes tiny

Males usually have a single yellow band on the collar and a tuft of yellow hairs on the face

Lifecycle

Usually nest underground at the end of a long tunnel, sometimes in walls

Colonies build up to a peak in July/August and are usually in decline by the end of August

Queens typically hibernate in woodland, emerging in spring to build themselves up and then search for a nest-site

  • Main photo
  • male

Photo © Tony Gunton

Photo © Tony Gunton