One of our most common bumblebees, the Common Carder Bee emerges early in the spring and can be seen feeding on flowers right through to November. It is found in gardens, farmland, woodland edges, hedgerows, heathland: anywhere there are flowers to feed on. It nests in cavities, such as old mouse runs, in bird's nests or in moss mats in lawns. A social insect, nests may contain up to 200 workers. The queen emerges from hibernation in spring and starts the colony by laying a few eggs that hatch as workers; these workers tend the young and nest. Males emerge later and mate with new females who are prospective queens. Both the males and old queen die in the autumn, but the new queens hibernate.
How to identify
The Common Carder Bee is a brown and orange bumblebee, sometimes displaying darker bands on the abdomen. There are two similar species but these are much rarer bees.
Where to find it
When to find it
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.