Buff-tailed bumblebee

Bombus terrestris

  1. Wildlife
  2. Invertebrates
  3. Bees and wasps
  4. Buff-tailed bumblebee

About

This species of bumblebee is named after the queen’s buff-coloured ‘tail’. It is a widespread species which visits many different types of flowers for pollen and nectar. They make nests underground. 

How to identify

The queen, male and worker buff-tailed bumblebees all have a yellow collar near the head and another on the abdomen. The queen has an off-white/buff colour ‘tail’ while the workers have a white ‘tail’ with a faint buff line separating tail from the rest of the abdomen. Males have a buff-tinged tail and also have black hair on their face; in many other bumblebee species the males have yellow faces.

Where to find it

Throughout the UK in lowland areas.

Habitats

When to find it

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August

How can people help

Bumblebees are a vitally important for pollinating hundreds of plant species, including many crops. But they are under threat from loss of habitat and the increasing use of pesticides and herbicides. The Wildlife Trusts recognise the importance of healthy habitats to support all kinds of species, so are working closely with farmers, landowners and developers to promote wildlife-friendly practices. You can help too: encourage bees and wasps into your garden by providing nectar-rich flower borders and fruit trees. To find out more about gardening for wildlife, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.

Species information

Common name
Buff-tailed bumblebee
Latin name
Bombus terrestris
Category
Invertebrates
Bees and wasps
Statistics
Length 20-22mm
Conservation status
Common