Blooms for Bees

Blooms for Bees

White-tailed Bumblebee

Bombus lucorum

Widespread throughout the majority of the UK. This species often goes through two generations in a season, but is not currently known to have winter-active colonies like the similar Buff-tailed Bumblebee.


Queens have two lemon-yellow bands and a bright white tail.

Workers are very similar but smaller.

Males have a broader yellow collar, lots of yellow facial hair and often extra yellow on the abdomen.

White-tailed bumblebee

About the bee

– white tail
– two lemon-yellow bands
– males very yellow


– Queen: 16mm
– Worker: 12mm
– Male: 14mm

Tongue length

– Short (6mm)


Usually underground, often in old rodent burrows.

Colony size

Large (around 200 workers)

Map and flight periods

Similar species

Buff-tailed Bumblebee queens are larger and can normally be differentiated by their buff-coloured tail. Workers are normally very similar and difficult to distinguish. Males lack the yellow hair on their faces.

The Cryptic Bumblebee has only recently been separated as a different species using DNA sequencing. Usually impossible to visually differentiate.

The Northern White-tailed Bumblebee is normally found in upland areas where the White-tailed Bumblebee is absent, but is very difficult to identify.

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Blooms for Bees