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Early Bumblebee

Bombus pratorum

Early Bumblebee, early-nesting bumblebee, Early Bee

A close up of a Early Bumblebee Bombus pratorum on a flower

Bombus pratorum (9389381085)

by Donald Hobern. CC BY 2.0

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The Early Bumblebee is a small, fluffy bumblebee that's active as early as February. These bees are relatively abundant in Britain, and one of the first species to arise from hibernation. It's one of the red-tailed species in Europe, but the hue of red can vary between individuals. Find these bees buzzing around white clover, thistles, sage, lavender, and Allium; they thrive in the garden, in open spaces and countryside habitats. They like to nest in abandoned birdboxes, but will also reuse the nests of small rodents!
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Perfect pollinators for early blooms.


Adults: These bees are easy to tell apart from species such as the red-tailed bumblebee. Firstly, they are a lot smaller. They have yellow collars followed by a black and yellow band. The second half of the body is black and red. Males tend to be more yellow, the queens larger.











The UK and Ireland; Europe

Biological treatment

Bees provide ecosystem services which are vital in sustaining a healthy environment! Help bees by planting a selection of native wildflowers, or letting some parts of the garden grow a little wild. You can reduce cutting back plants and the lawn, or try to reduce how much chemicals you use. Or cut them out entirely!


A close up of a purple Cynara cardunculus flower in a garden


Cynara cardunculus

White Clover

Trifolium repens


Lavandula spp.

Some yellow Fagelia flowers and green leaves


Fagelia spp.

A close up of a yellow Fagelia bituminosa flower

Fagelia bituminosa

Fagelia bituminosa

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Plant Knowledge

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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