Blooms for Bees

Blooms for Bees

Short-haired Bumblebee

Bombus subterraneus

Last seen in 1988 and declared extinct in the UK in 2000, but subject to a reintroduction project in Kent. New queens have been brought over from Sweden each year since 2012 and combined with habitat restoration efforts, it is hoped this bee is becoming established once more.


Queens have particularly short, neat hair. They have a yellow collar, a thin yellow fringe on the thorax where it meets the abdomen, a pale fringe part way down the abdomen, and white tail.

Workers appear very similar, as do males, though their hair is slightly longer.

The Swedish introductions tend to be darker than those that were native to the UK, so the markings can be faint or even absent.

About the bee

– short, neat hair
– dull yellow collar, often broken
– yellow fringe between thorax and abdomen
– dirty white tail


– Queen: 17mm
– Worker: 11mm
– Male: 12mm

Tongue length



Normally underground in old rodent burrows.

Colony size

Small to medium (up to 100 workers).

Map and flight periods

Similar species

Darker specimens of the Ruderal Bumblebee may resemble the Swedish form of the Short-haired Bumblebee, but are generally larger with less neat hair and a longer face.

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Blooms for Bees