White-tailed Bumblebee

Bombus lucorum

  1. Wildlife
  2. Invertebrates
  3. Bees and wasps
  4. White-tailed Bumblebee


The White-tailed Bumblebee is a very common bumblebee which emerges early in the spring and can be seen feeding on flowers right through to the autumn. It can be found in gardens, farmland, woodland edges, hedgerows and heathland: anywhere there are flowers to feed on. As with other social insects, the queen emerges from hibernation in spring and starts the colony by laying a few eggs that hatch as workers; these workers tend the young and nest. Males emerge later and mate with new females who are prospective queens. Both the males and old queen die in the autumn, but the new queens hibernate.

How to identify

The White-tailed Bumblebee has black and lemon-yellow bands and a white 'tail'. There are several very similar species which can be very difficult to tell apart: the Buff-tailed Bumblebee, for example, has black and dull yellow bands, and a buff-coloured tail, instead of a bright white one.

Where to find it



When to find it

  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November

How can people help

Bumblebees are a vitally important for pollinating hundreds of plant species, including many crops. But they are under threat from loss of habitat and the increasing use of pesticides and herbicides. The Wildlife Trusts recognise the importance of healthy habitats to support all kinds of species, so are working closely with farmers, landowners and developers to promote wildlife-friendly practices. You can help too: encourage bees and wasps into your garden by providing nectar-rich flower borders and fruit trees. To find out more about gardening for wildlife, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.

Local information

The white-tailed bumblebee can be seen at lots of BBOWT's nature reserves. Some of our bee-friendly reserves where you might see it are: Bray Pit, College Lake, Dry Sandford Pit, Finemere Wood, Hartslock, Hitchcopse Pit, Homefield Wood and Moor Copse. Why not visit and see if you can spot one?

To find out more about bees, visit our Wild Info section. Learn how to identify different kinds of bees, browse our gallery of bees, and get advice on how to help bees in your own garden.

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Species information

Common name
White-tailed Bumblebee
Latin name
Bombus lucorum
Bees and wasps
Length: up to 2.2cm
Conservation status