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Red-tailed Bumblebee

Bombus lapidarius

Red-tailed Bumblebee

A picture of a Bombus lapidarius red-tailed bumblebee on a lavender flower
Barnoid - Bombus Lapidarius (by-sa) by Barney Livingston (CC BY-SA 2.0)
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The Red-Tailed Bumblebee is considered one of the more common species in Europe. It can thrive in an array of habitats, from urbanised gardens, to open countryside and farmland. They'll visit a variety of plants in the garden, choosing to nest underground or inside abandoned bird boxes. New queens emerge from June onwards to mate with the male bees (or drones), before finding a suitable place to sleep through the winter.

Traits

Excellent pollinators in spring and summer.

Appearance

Adults: These bees are quite big - the queen is as large as 2cm, and the workers are much smaller, reaching only 1-1.2cm; the males are smaller again. Queens and workers are mostly black, with a crimson-ginger tail. Males are similar but possess an additional yellow collar and yellow facial hair.

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Hymenoptera

Family

Apidae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

The UK and Ireland; Europe

Biological treatment

Attract bees to your garden by planting a selection of native nectar-rich plants and wildflowers. Make effort to reduce or cut out on herbicides and pesticides, or by cutting back weeds less often.

Attracts

Barberry

Berberis spp.

Spartium

Spartium spp.

Common bluebell

Bluebell

Hyacinthoides non-scripta

A close up of a Mahonia plant with yellow flowers

Mahonia

Mahonia spp.

A Prunus spinosa plant with green leaves and black purple berry fruits

Blackthorn

Prunus spinosa

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