Common carder bee

Common Carder Bee

Common Carder Bee ©Rachel Scopes

Common carder bee

Scientific name: Bombus pascuorum
The common carder bee is a fluffy, gingery bumble bee that can often be found in gardens and woods, and on farmland and heaths. It is a social bee, nesting in cavities, old birds' nests and mossy lawns.

Species information


Length: 1.3cm

Conservation status


When to see

March to November


One of our most common bumble bees, 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, hedgerows and heaths: anywhere there are flowers to feed on. It nests in cavities, such as old mouse runs, in birds' 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 fluffy, brown-and-orange bumble bee, sometimes displaying darker bands on the abdomen.



Did you know?

Common carder bees are one of a number of 'long-tongued bees' that feed on flowers with long tubular florets, such as heather, clover and lavender.