Red-tailed Bumblebee Bombus lapidarius

Red-tailed Bumblebee Bombus lapidarius male

You can see why they call this the Red-tailed Bumblebee. This is a male with the yellow stripes. I really liked my Lavender, and must have been around it for about half an hour going from flower to flower.

Red-tailed Bumblebee Bombus lapidarius male

Red-tailed Bumblebee Bombus lapidarius male

Red-tailed Bumblebee Bombus lapidarius male

August 2017, rear garden, Staffordshire, England.

Red-tailed Bumblebee

Bombus lapidarius

With its all black coat apart from the bright red tail from where the English name originates, this is Britain’s most distinctive bee. A large, slender bee, the male has a yellow collar. The queens grow up to 22mm in length, and the workers up to 16mm in length. 

The nests are made in a variety of different places, usually in open areas underground, beneath large rocks, or in wall cavities. Large, mature nests may contain up to 150 workers. Young nests may be taken over by the cleptoparasitic bee Bombus rupestris. Feeds on nectar and pollen. It will sting if its nest is threatened. An important pollinator of oil-seed rape crops.

Queens emerge from hibernation fairly late compared to other species of bumblebee. Found in arable fields, gardens and  chalk downland. Common and widespread.

Photographs taken March 2014 and May 2015, rear garden, Staffordshire.