Red-shanked Carder Bee
The range of this species has reduced substantially in recent years. Although similar in appearance to the more common Red-tailed Bumblebee, it has a much more rounded shape.
Queens, workers and males are black, with an orange tail which is paler than that of the Red-tailed Bumblebee.
Queens and workers have distinctive orange hairs either side of the pollen baskets on their hind legs.
Males usually have a weak grey/yellow collar and a faint grey band across the abdomen.
About the bee
– black body
– red tail
– red/orange leg hairs
– Queen: 13mm
– Worker: 11mm
– Male: 10mm
Usually on the surface in thick vegetation, but occasionally below ground.
Small to medium (rarely exceeding 100 workers).
Map and flight periods
The Red-tailed Bumblebee has shorter, smoother hair, a more elongated body shape and darker orange tail. Workers and queens have black hairs alongside their pollen baskets rather than red. Males have a yellow collar and facial hair.
Red-tailed Cuckoo Bee females are much larger with a black, shiny body visible beneath sparse hair. They have exceptionally dark, smoky wings and lack pollen baskets. Males look very much like those of the Red-shanked Carder Bee, often with similar greyish banding, but can be differentiated by their larger, box-shaped heads.