About Bumble Bees

Updated: November 2023

Bumble bees are enchanting creatures.  Their gentle buzzing sound is synonymous with Summer.  However, they are not only beautiful, they are vitally important pollinators. 

Scientific Classification Of The Bumble Bee

Bumble bee foraging on pink hollyhock fower.Bumble bee foraging on hollyhock.

Below, is an overview of the scientific classification of the bumble bee.

Beneath that, you will find links to further information, including answers to common questions.

Please do keep coming back to this site, as further information is continually being added!

Scientific Classification:  Bumble Bees


Animalia (the animal kingdom)


Arthropoda (which means they are invertebrates, having an exoskeleton (or outer skeleton) and jointed body parts (legs, antennae).


Insecta (they have six legs)


Hymenoptera (referring to winged insects – read more about hymenoptera)


Apocrita (they have a waist, sting, and larvae are blind and without legs)


Apidae (bees)


Bombus (bumble bees)

Further information:

Background information - their current status in the UK and USA, as well as the problems they face.

Bumble Bee Lifecycle
Information about the lifecycle of this important little pollinator, with pictures.

Where do they prefer to nest, and can you create a nest site in your garden?

The Queen
About the role of the queen within the colony, with a lovely short David Attenborough video clip.

It may surprise you to learn that there are species of cuckoo bee (and wasps too!). 

Why are bumble bees excellent pollinators?

Should We Write 'Bumblebee' or 'Bumble Bee'?
i.e. one word or two?

Do Bumble Bees Make Honey?
A question I have often been asked during my talks, perhaps due to the confusion between honey bees and bumble bees.

Do Bumble Bees Dance?
Honey bees are famous for their 'waggle dance', but do bumble bees dance too?

Do Bumble Bees Bite?
Bumble bees do have jaws called 'mandibles'.  Bumble bees do not bite humans, but there are occasions when bumble bees use their jaws.

Do Bumble Bees Sting? 
A common question, and among those who know that female bumble bees can indeed sting (although they are not generally aggressive), is another frequent query: can they sting repeatedly?

Nest Removal
Nests only last a season, and relocating a nest is rarely successful, but sometimes, moving a nest is inevitable. Here are some step by step instructions to increase the chances of moving a nest successfully, humanely and safely.

Bees Nest Q&A
You may have found a bees nest, and not be sure what kind of bee it belongs to, or what to do about it. Here is a handy Q&A.

British Bumble bees
A guide to the UK species.

Bumble bees Of North And Central America
(Including Mexico)

How To Help A Bumble Bee With Mites
You may see phoretic mites attached to the body of a bumble bee.  Practical assistance.

Headless Bumble Bees
It may seem strange, but there is an explanation!

Why Do Bumble Bees Fly Into Windows?
Here's why it happens when the queen is looking for a place to nest.

bumble bee on purple-pink wild mallow flower

Bumble bee Foraging Behaviours
Do bumble bees waggle dance?  Do they prefer certain flowers? 

Bumble bees may sometimes be seen digging in the ground.  Here you can read why.

The Flight Of The Bumble bee
A joy to watch! A short video showing the flight of this enchanting little pollinator. Also, you can listen to the composition by Rimsky-Korsakov, The Flight Of The Bumble bee and even download the sheet music for free!

Bumble bees For Sale?
Bumble bees are being reared commercially for sale not only to major food growers, but also to gardeners.  But is it a good idea to buy them?

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