A distinctive bee with an abdomen that is almost completely bright orange. Found predominantly in heath and moorland habitats, normally where bilberry plants are present.
Queens, workers and males all have a yellow collar, and usually a thinner yellow band on the thorax where it meets the abdomen. Around two thirds of the abdomen is a rich, vibrant red-orange.
Males also have yellow hair on their heads.
About the bee
– yellow collar
– extensively red-orange abdomen
– Queen: 15mm
– Worker: 10mm
– Male: 10mm
Underground in old mammal burrows
Small (usually fewer than 50 workers)
Map and flight periods
Early Bumblebee queens, workers and males all have similar markings but are fluffier in appearance and have a less extensive, paler orange tail.
Red-tailed Bumblebee queens, workers and males are all a little larger and the orange of their tails does not extend as far up the abdomen. Queens and workers lack any yellow colouring, but males have a similar yellow collar and yellow facial hair.
The Red-shanked Carder Bee has a paler orange tail, which does not extend as far up the abdomen. Queens and workers do not have any yellow colouring, although males usually have two dull yellow bands.