These are robust, round, densely furry bees (8-40mm) with colourful contrasting patterns and bands. These bands can vary in colour combinations and thickness with some species also having red, white bottoms or ginger/black bottoms (abdomens). They have long antennae, often with a slight ‘kink’ or angle in them! Bumblebees have 2 pairs of wings that are held flat at rest and they often tuck their abdomen under when they visit flowers.

Scientific name

Hymenoptera: Family Apidae: Bombus spp

Did you know..

There are around 25 species of bumblebees found in Britain. All species are capable of stinging although they are rather reluctant to do it! Many bumblebees hibernate underground and can keep warm in colder weather. They are often seen flying when honeybees stay at home. They are important agricultural pollinators, so their decline is a cause for concern. Their decline has been caused by habitat loss, the mechanisation of agriculture, and pesticides.

Similar species

honeybees, solitary bees and some hoverflies but Bumblebees are larger, louder and hairier! Please, notice that some early spring workers could be small.

Useful links

Bumblebee conservation trust

Record a sighting