Blooms for Bees

Blooms for Bees

Cryptic Bumblebee

Bombus cryptarum

Although first scientifically described in 1775, the Cryptic Bumblebee was only recently confirmed as a distinct species following DNA studies. Thought to be widespread in upland areas and present in low-lying counties, but almost impossible to distinguish from the White-tailed Bumblebee.


Queens have a yellow collar, a wider yellow band across the abdomen and a bright white tail. A key feature in queens is thought to be a patch of black hairs which intrudes into the yellow collar in front of the wing bases.

Workers resemble queens but are smaller.

Unlike the White-tailed and Northern White-tailed Bumblebees, males are not thought to have yellow hair on their head.


About the bee

– two yellow bands
– white tail


– Queen: 16mm
– Worker: 12mm
– Male: 14mm

Tongue length



Thought to be similar to those of the White-tailed Bumblebee, underground in abandoned rodent burrows.

Colony size

Thought to be quite large with over 200 workers.

Similar species

White-tailed Bumblebee queens lack the scattering of black hairs in their collar that the Cryptic Bumblebee may display. Males have a lot of yellow hair on their head.

Northern White-tailed Bumblebee queens are slightly larger and along with workers and males, are thought to have a longer, wider yellow collar, but this is not considered to be a reliable characteristic.

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Blooms for Bees