Blooms for Bees

Blooms for Bees

Barbut’s Cuckoo Bee

Bombus barbutellus

Fairly widespread in southern and central England, but thought to be declining significantly in some areas. More scarce in Wales, Scotland and Ireland.


Females have a wide dark yellow collar, dark yellow hairs where the thorax and abdomen meet, and a white tail. They can be quite variable and the yellow hairs on the abdomen may not always be present.

Males are similar but smaller, with more obvious yellow colouring where the thorax and abdomen meet.

Barbuts cuckoo bee

About the bee

– dark yellow collar
– yellow hair where thorax and abdomen meet
– white tail



– Female: 16mm
– Male: 13mm

Tongue length

– Short


The Garden Bumblebee and Ruderal Bumblebee.

Map and flight periods


Similar species

Forest Cuckoo Bee females appear similar but are smaller and the yellow colouring between the thorax and abdomen is much weaker. They also have a characteristic short, curved abdomen.

The Garden Bumblebee has similar markings, but has denser hair and a much longer face and tongue.

The Ruderal Bumblebee queens look similar to Barbut’s Cuckoo Bee females, but they have a longer face and pollen baskets.

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Blooms for Bees