White-tailed Bumble Bee - Bombus lucorum agg.


Lengths: Queen 19 to 20 mm, worker 11 to 17 mm, male 14 to16 mm. The Queens have a white tip to the abdomen. The species is slightly smaller than Bombus terrestris. On comparison it can be seen that the yellow hairs of the males of B. terrestris appear more orangey whilst those of B. lucorum males are more lemon yellow particularly around the face which is noticeably lemon coloured in B. lucorum.  Bombus lucorum, Bombus magnus, and Bombus cryptarum cannot be easily differentiated from one another by their appearances so for that reason we have treated them as an aggregate.

Identification difficulty

A (as an aggregate)


Around flowers.

When to see it

Queens are amongst the first bees to emerge in spring, males do not usually emerge until about August.

Life History

The species has a short tongue for a bumblebee, so tends to forage on flowers with short corollas and daisy-type flowers; however it is sometimes resourceful enough to make a hole through the base of the corolla in other flowers to drink the nectar. They nest in the ground, often in an old mouse or vole nest.

UK Status

Widespread and fairly common in Britain, however populations are believed to be declining.

VC55 Status

Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


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

UK Map