Widespread throughout the majority of the UK. This species often goes through two generations in a season, but is not currently known to have winter-active colonies like the similar Buff-tailed Bumblebee.
Queens have two lemon-yellow bands and a bright white tail.
Workers are very similar but smaller.
Males have a broader yellow collar, lots of yellow facial hair and often extra yellow on the abdomen.
About the bee
– white tail
– two lemon-yellow bands
– males very yellow
– Queen: 16mm
– Worker: 12mm
– Male: 14mm
– Short (6mm)
Usually underground, often in old rodent burrows.
Large (around 200 workers)
Map and flight periods
Buff-tailed Bumblebee queens are larger and can normally be differentiated by their buff-coloured tail. Workers are normally very similar and difficult to distinguish. Males lack the yellow hair on their faces.
The Cryptic Bumblebee has only recently been separated as a different species using DNA sequencing. Usually impossible to visually differentiate.
The Northern White-tailed Bumblebee is normally found in upland areas where the White-tailed Bumblebee is absent, but is very difficult to identify.