British Bumblebees

Here is a list of British bumblebees, with Latin and common names where known.  Included is Bombus hypnorum - not originally a UK bumblebee species, but a relatively recent arrival to Britain.

Click on the links to read more about the species (this is currently work in progress).

Social Bumblebees

Common Species

Bombus lucorum

- White tailed bumblebee

Bombus terrestris

– Buff tailed bumblebee

Bombus pratorum

– Early bumblebee or Early nesting bumblebee

Bombus pascuorum

– Common carder bee

Bombus hortorum

– Garden bumblebee

Bombus lapidarius

- Red-tailed bumblebee

Bombus jonellus

– Heath bumblebee

Bombus hypnorum

– Tree bumblebee

Less Common Social British Bumblebees


Bombus soreensis

– Broken-belted bumblebee

Bombus monticola

- Mountain, Blaeberry or Bilberry bumblebee

Bombus ruderarius

– Red shanked carder bee

Bombus ruderatus

– Large garden bumblebee

Bombus humilis

- Brown banded carder bee

Bombus sylvarum

– Shrill carder bee

Bombus muscorum

– Moss carder bee

Very Rare Bumblebee Species

Bombus distinguendus

– Great yellow bumblebee

Recently Re-introduced

Bombus subterraneous

– Short-haired bumblebee


Bombus pomorum

Bombus cullumanus

 Cuckoo Bumblebees Of Britain

Bombus vestalis

– Southern cuckoo or Vestal cuckoo bee

Bombus bohemicus

– Gypsy cuckoo bee

Bombus barbutellus

– Barbut’s cuckoo bee

Bombus campestris

– Field cuckoo bee

Bombus sylvestris

– Forest cuckoo bee

Bombus rupestris

– Red-tailed cuckoo or Hill cuckoo bee

Read more about cuckoo bumblebees.

Why are some British Bumblebees More Common, Whilst Others Have Declined

The reasons are complex, however, habitat is a key issue. 

-          Generally, the more adaptable bumblebee species in terms of habitat, food and nesting requirement, have remained more common.  Bumblebees requiring very specific habitats, foraging and food have suffered greatly due to habitat destruction.  For example, those relying on grasslands and meadows have suffered due to changing land management practices, the industrialisation of farming, destruction of hedgerows etc.

-          In addition to habitat loss, all bees face the challenge of pesticide use across large areas of land.



More information about bumblebees


The bumblebee lifecycle

The bumblebee queen

Nests – the challenges faced by bumblebees


About bumblebees

Create A Bee Garden

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If you find a bedraggled bumblebee needing help, feed it sugar water, NOT honey.
Read more.

Are you thinking of purchasing a box of bumblebees for your garden?

Please read this first