Blooms for Bees

Blooms for Bees

Tree Bumblebee

Bombus hypnorum

A relatively recent arrival to the UK from mainland Europe. First recorded in Wiltshire in 2001, the Tree Bumblebee is now one of our most common bumblebees, reaching Scotland in 2013. Its success may be partly due to its ability to exploit nest sites that other bees do not use.

Appearance

This bumblebee has distinct markings that set it apart from most other species.

Queens, workers and males all have a ginger-brown thorax and a black abdomen with a white tail. Some queens and workers have a darker, or even black thorax, but always retain their white tail.

Males have brown facial hairs and one or two ginger-brown bands at the base of the abdomen.

Tree bumblebee

About the bee

– white tail
– black abdomen
– ginger-brown thorax

Size

– Queen: 15mm
– Worker: 11mm
– Male: 13mm

Tongue length

– Short

Nest

Almost always above ground, in locations such as roof eaves and unused bird boxes. Groups of males can be seen flying around nest sites, waiting for new queens to emerge.

Colony size

Medium (around 150 workers)

Map and flight periods

Similar species

The Common Carder Bee may resemble the Tree Bumblebee as they have the same ginger-brown thorax and the abdomen can appear very dark, but they never have a white tail.

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