Blooms for Bees

Blooms for Bees

Ruderal Bumblebee

Bombus ruderatus

A large bee, similar to the Garden Bumblebee, but appears later in the year and is less likely to be found in gardens. This species suffered severe decline during the twentieth century, but is now showing signs of recovery in some areas.


Queens, workers and males have a yellow collar, yellow midriff band and a white tail, although these markings can be very faint and completely black individuals are not unusual, even in the same colony as those that are brightly coloured.

Queens are very large, around the same size as the Buff-tailed Bumblebee, but are more elongated.


About the bee

– yellow collar
– yellow midriff band
– white tail
– may be completely black


– Queen: 18mm
– Worker: 13mm
– Male: 14mm

Tongue length



Most commonly in old rodent burrows.

Colony size

Medium (up to 150 workers).

Map and flight periods

Similar species

The Garden Bumblebee has similar markings to the Ruderal Bumblebee but has a longer face and longer, less neat hair, and is generally smaller. More likely to be found in garden habitats.

The Heath Bumblebee may have similar colouring, but is smaller and fluffier with a much shorter face.

The Short-haired Bumblebee is currently undergoing reintroduction in the South West of England. The Swedish bees that are being released may have similar markings to more lightly coloured Ruderal Bumblebees, but have shorter hair and a much shorter face.

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Blooms for Bees