Red-tailed Bumblebee - Bombus lapidarius


Lengths queen 20-22 mm, workers 11-16 mm, male 14-16 mm. Bombus lapidarius is probably the most easily recognised bumblebee species, with its black body and bright orange tail. The workers have the same colouring as the queen but are much smaller. The males also have similar colouring but with more yellow hair.

Identification difficulty

Commonly seen in gardens and hedgerows.

When to see it

May to September.

Life History

These bees prefer to nest underground and the base of a dry stone wall is a popular location but it will nest under other stones and slabs. The size of the nest can vary considerably from over 200 bees to less than 100.

UK Status

Fairly common in Britain and have expanded northwards to include Scotland.

VC55 Status

Common in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map

Species profile

Common names
Large Red-tailed Bumblebee, Red-tailed Bumblebee
Species group:
Bees, Wasps, Ants
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
24/07/1995 (John Thickitt)
Last record:
10/10/2023 (Bailey, Juliet)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

10km squares with records

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