Blooms for Bees

Blooms for Bees

Shrill Carder Bee

Bombus sylvarum

Once present in many parts of England, Wales and Southern Scotland, the Shrill Carder Bee suffered drastic declines during the twentieth century, and is now confined to a few localities such as the Thames Gateway. Workers are particularly small and emit a high-pitched (shrill) hum as they fly.


Smaller and greyer than the other species of carder bee. Queens, workers and males all have a dark area between the wing bases, and a dark band (sometimes two) across the abdomen. The tail is often buff/orange, but can appear rather dull because of surrounding white hairs.

About the bee

– grey appearance
– dull orange tail
– black hairs between wings


– Queen: 13mm
– Worker: 9mm
– Male: 11mm

Tongue length



Usually on the surface in dense vegetation, but may also use old rodent burrows.

Colony size

Small (fewer than 50 workers).

Map and flight periods

Similar species

The Common Carder Bee is a much brighter ginger/chestnut colour. There is sometimes a dark area in the middle of the thorax, but this does not run between the wing bases as in the Shrill Carder Bee.

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Blooms for Bees