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The heath humble-bee


The heath humble-bee or small heath bumblebee, Bombus jonellus is a species of bumblebee, widely distributed in Europe and northern Asia as well as North America. A fairly small bumblebee, it has body lengths around 16 mm. The heath humble-bee is found in gardens and meadows, as well as on heath and moorland. The bumblebee visits various food sources, such as clover, bird's-foot trefoil, cowberry, thistles, and many others.

The nest, which at most can contain 50 to 120 workers, can be situated both above and under ground. When the climate permits, as in southern England, this species can have two broods a season. A study in northern Sweden shows the males, when patrolling for young queens, do so at tree-top level, marking twigs and leaves with pheromones to attract the queens.


The heath humble-bee Photo credit: Ivar Leidus

Bumblebee identification

Bumblebee Identification apps available

For those interested in learning more about bumblebees, we highly recommend the following apps: Bumblebees of Britain & Ireland - NatureGuides Ltd., Blooms for Bees - Natural Apptitude, Great British Bee Count - Friends of the Earth Ltd. Bumblebee Apps


The red-tailed bumblebee


The red-tailed bumblebee Photo credit: Ivar Leidus

The red-tailed bumblebee Bombus lapidarius is distinguishable by its black body with red markings around the abdomen. Worker females and the queen look very similar, however the queen is much larger. Males look very similar having both the red and black markings along with a yellow band around the abdomen and yellow spots on the face. B. lapidarius tend to have a medium-sized proboscis, which is significant in that it allows this species to be a good pollinator.


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