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Field Cuckoo Bee

Bombus campestris

Field Cuckoo Bee

A close up of a flower Field Cuckoo Bumblebee Bombus campestris on thistle

Bombus campestris (male)

by S. Rae. CC BY 2.0

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Field Cuckoo Bees don't live in large colonies but, steal the nests of other bees. Over time, they've lost their pollen baskets, and this is a great way to tell them apart from other bee species! This is a cuckoo bee who targets the nests of B. pascuorum, the early bumblebee. Find these bees in gardens, hedgerows and lush meadow habitats.
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Although these bees are parasites, they still play a key role in the surrounding ecosystem.
They will still pollinate garden flowers!


Adults: Male bees are half the size of the females, which are 2cm in length. The bees mimic the hosts, which are the early bumblebees. Females possess a 'bald patch' on the thorax, which is black and shiny, surrounded by plumes of golden hairs. The abdomen has one yellow band of hair and a stripey yellow tail.











Throughout Europe and the UK

Biological treatment

It's not suggested to treat gardens for bees. Attract bees by planting pollinator-friendly flowers or try to cut down on the harmful chemicals used in the garden.

Chemical treatment

Bees are susceptible to pesticides and herbicides. It's not advised to treat plants while in flower.


These bees tend not to forage too much, however, will still have a tasty drink or two once emerged from development. They're attracted to nests that belong to the species Bombus pascuorum.


Taraxacum spp.


Scabiosa spp.


Knautia spp.


Vicia spp.

Common Knapweed

Centaurea nigra

A close up of a purple Onopordum acanthium flower

Cotton Thistle

Onopordum acanthium

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