Blooms for Bees

Blooms for Bees

Northern White-tailed Bumblebee

Bombus magnus

The Northern White-tailed Bumblebee is very similar to the White-tailed Bumblebee, but appears to primarily inhabit upland areas. There are minor differences between the queens of the two species, but workers and males are indistinguishable.


Queens have a yellow collar that extends down the sides of the thorax, a wide yellow band across the abdomen and bright white tail.

Workers are very similar but smaller.

Males have a broader yellow collar and lots of yellow hair on their head.

About the bee

– two yellow bands
– white tail


– Queen: 17mm
– Worker: 12mm
– Male: 14mm

Tongue length



Thought to nest underground in old rodent burrows in a similar way to the closely related White-tailed Bumblebee.

Colony size

Thought to be quite large with over 200 workers.

Similar species

White-tailed Bumblebee queens tend to have a slightly thinner yellow collar that does not extend as far down the sides of the thorax. Workers and males are not reliably distinguishable, but it is thought that most workers have a thinner, shorter collar than those of the Northern White-tailed Bumblebee.

The Cryptic Bumblebee can only be accurately differentiated by DNA analysis. It is thought that queens have black hairs scattered in their yellow collars, but this is not reliable.

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Blooms for Bees