Blooms for Bees

Blooms for Bees

Common Carder Bee

Bombus pascuorum

The only common UK bumblebee that is mostly brown/ginger, but lacks a white tail. Widely distributed and the most common of the ‘carder’ bumblebees, probably due to the broad range of habitats and flowers it is able to make use of.


Queens, workers and males all have a ginger thorax and a paler ginger abdomen with black hairs visible between the bands. Colour is variable depending on location and individuals range from pale ginger to almost black, often fading and becoming quite threadbare with age. Common Carders may appear very similar to other carder species, but are much more widespread and abundant.

Common carder bee

About the bee

– ginger thorax
– ginger and black striped abdomen
– males have ginger facial hair


– Queen: 13mm
– Worker: 10mm
– Male: 11mm

Tongue length

Long (8mm)


Usually at ground level in dense vegetation and sometimes above ground in places like tree cavities. Moss is often used to cover the nest.

Colony size

Variable, generally small to medium (60 to 150 workers).

Map and flight periods


Similar species

The Brown-banded Carder Bee is generally paler than the Common Carder Bee, but the second band, and sometimes the third band, of the abdomen are darker. There are usually black hairs at the bases of the wings.

Moss Carder Bee queens are slightly larger, have shorter, neater hairs and a more intensely ginger thorax. Males and workers are smaller with longer hairs.

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Blooms for Bees