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Nature Trail 28

Bumble Bee, Bombus sp

There are 25 species of Bumble Bee in the UK, you can usually tell a bumble bee from its fat and hairy body. The commonest species are the buff tail, white tail and red tailed bumble bees.

Bumble bees and honeybees are different from the 230 other wild bee species because they are colony creatures (live as a family in a single nest). A bumble bee queen starts her nest and then raises lots of, mainly, daughters. A big nest of buff tailed bumble bees might consist of up to 350 individuals, this is still much smaller than a honeybee colony which may have up 50000 individuals!

Bumble bees are great at pollinating our wildflowers and some of our crops. From Foxgloves to clover, the bumble bee’s ability to visit both deep flowers, using its long tongue, and shallower flowers too, make it a very important pollinator, indeed they can visit many more species than the honeybee, as they have a short tongue!

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