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Red-shanked Carder Bee

Bombus ruderarius

Red-shanked Carder Bee, Red-Shanked Bumble Bee, Red-Shanked Bee

A close up image of a red shanked bumblebee Bombus ruderarius drinking nectar from a yellow flower

Bombus ruderarius - Linaria vulgaris - Valingu2

by Ivar Leidus. CC BY-SA 4.0

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Bombus ruderarius is known commonly as the Red-Shanked Carder Bee. They're one of the few 'Red-tailed' Bees in the UK, and together with the red hairs on their legs, they can be relatively easy to identify! The range of this species has reduced dramatically, with sightings becoming less and less common. They're a social bee, living in small colonies of up to a maximum of 100 individuals.
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A long tongued bee, these insects are specialist pollinators of deep, tubular flowers.
Declining in some places due to habitat loss.


Queens: The queen bumblebees grow as large as 1.3cm and are mostly black in colour. The characteristic distinguishing them as a species are the red hairs on the back legs. Worker: The workers are similar but slightly smaller (1.1cm). Male: Again, the males are smaller (1cm), but they also possess faint grey hair, which forms an additional band on the abdomen. They also possess a faint buff-white collar, which just proceeds the head.











Europe and restricted to the South of the UK.

Biological treatment

It's not suggested to treat gardens for bees. Help bees by planting pollinator-friendly flowers, provide bee-friendly habitats or cut down your use of harmful chemicals.

Chemical treatment

Bees are extremely sensitive to pesticides and herbicides. It's not advised to treat flowering plants or to spray near the latter because the bees can be affected.


These insects are attracted to nesting sites possessing an abundance of thick, long vegetation. They have extra long tongues, so will exploit the nectar stores of tubed flowers.
A green leaved Bergenia plant in a garden

Bergenia Elephant's Ears

Bergenia spp.

A close up of some purple Buddleja flowers in a garden


Buddleja spp.


Cosmos spp.


Digitalis purpurea


Taraxacum officinale

Viper's Bugloss

Echium vulgare


Lonicera spp.


Dahlia spp.

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