British Bumble Bees

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

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

List of British Bumble Bees

Social Bumble bees

Bumble bee foraging on knapweed

Common Species

Bombus lucorum

- White tailed bumble bee

Bombus terrestris

– Buff tailed bumble bee

Bombus pratorum

– Early bumble bee or Early nesting bumble bee

Bombus pascuorum

– Common carder bee

Bombus hortorum

– Garden bumble bee

Bombus lapidarius

- Red-tailed bumble bee

Bombus jonellus

– Heath bumble bee

Bombus hypnorum

– Tree bumble bee

Less Common Social British Bumble bees


Bombus soreensis

– Broken-belted bumble bee

Bombus monticola

- Mountain, Blaeberry or Bilberry bumble bee

Bombus ruderarius

– Red shanked carder bee

Bombus ruderatus

– Large garden bumble bee

Bombus humilis

- Brown banded carder bee

Bombus sylvarum

– Shrill carder bee

Bombus muscorum

– Moss carder bee

Very Rare Bumble Bee Species

Bombus distinguendus

– Great yellow bumble bee

Recently Re-introduced

Bombus subterraneous

– Short-haired bumble bee


Bombus pomorum

Bombus cullumanus

 Cuckoo Bumble Bees 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 bumble bees.

Why Have The Populations Of Some British Bumble Bees Declined?

The reasons are complex, however, habitat is a key issue. Generally, the more adaptable bumble bee species in terms of habitat, food and nesting requirement, have remained more common. 

Bumble bees requiring very specific habitats, foraging and food have suffered greatly due to habitat destruction.  For example, those relying on grasslands and wildflower 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.


Benton, Ted. Bumblebees: The Natural History & Identification of the Species Found in Britain.  Collins 2006.

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