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Buff-Tailed Bumblebee

Bombus terrestris

Buff-Tailed Bumblebee, Buff Tailed Bumble Bee, Buff-tailed Humble-Bee, Large Earth Bumble Bee

A bumblebee belonging to the Bombus genus on a flower

2010-04-28 (24) Erdhummel, Buff-tailes bumblebee, Bombus terrestris

by Vera Buhl. CC BY-SA 3.0

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Bombus terrestris, or the Buff-Tailed Bumblebee, is a widespread, common insect. They're one of two sub-species, frequent in parks and gardens across Europe. They're a social bee, building nests containing several hundred individuals. They're capable of 'buzz' pollination, vibrating the flight muscles to remove pollen firmly attached to antlers.
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Can 'Buzz' pollinate plants.
Invasive in some parts of the world.


Adults: These bees belong to the group of white-tailed species, but as the name suggests, the tail is not entirely white, being more cream in colour. A queen is most likely seen in spring when searching for nest sites. She's large (2cm) with black and golden yellow banding, with a creamy-white tail (buff colour). Workers and male drones vary between 1.4- 1.7cm, but their banding follows the same pattern. Tip: the slight brown tinge to the tail colour may differentiate this bee from a white-tailed bumblebee.











Europe, New Zealand and parts of North America

Biological treatment

Bees can provide ecosystem services which are vital in sustaining a healthy environment! Attract them to your garden by planting an array of native bee-friendly plants, trees and bushes. Plant for each season. Reduce pesticides and herbicides, or stop using them altogether. Strim and mow lawns less often when less is in bloom.

Chemical treatment

It is not recommended to treat flowering garden plants where bees are present.


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


Cynara cardunculus

Viper's Bugloss

Echium vulgare

Some pink flowers on a Pulmonaria officinalis plant


Pulmonaria officinalis


Aquilegia spp.


Borago officinalis


Cosmos spp.


Lavandula spp.

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