Bumblebee ID guide

Did you know that by identifying bumblebee species you can help us to conserve them? You can do this by adding your bumblebee sightings to the online wildlife recording survey iRecord, or by signing up for BeeWalk, our national monitoring scheme where you walk a short local transect once a month, recording the bumblebees you see along the way.

It is easiest to start identifying a bumblebee by its tail colour, followed by the number of bands on its body. Click here for more tips on how to ID a bumblebee and click here to learn how to use your own photos to help with ID.

Below are illustrations of all the bumblebee species you will find in the UK, with distribution maps to show where you might find them. Click on the illustrations to find out more about each bumblebee species and their distinguishing features.

White-tailed bumblebees

Social bumblebees

Buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris)

White-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lucorum)

Tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Garden bumblebee (Bombus hortorum)

Heath bumblebee (Bombus jonellus)

Ruderal bumblebee (Bombus ruderatus)

Broken-belted bumblebee (Bombus soroeensis)

Cuckoo bumblebees

Southern cuckoo bumblebee (Bombus vestalis)

Gypsy cuckoo bumblebee (Bombus bohemicus)

Forest cuckoo bumblebee (Bombus sylvestris)

Barbuts cuckoo bumblebee (Bombus barbutellus)

Red-tailed bumblebees

Social bumblebees

Red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius)

Early bumblebee (Bombus pratorum)

Red-shanked bumblebee (Bombus ruderarius)

Bilberry bumblebee (Bombus monticola)

Cuckoo bumblebees

Red-tailed cuckoo bumblebee (Bombus rupestris)

Ginger-yellow bumblebees

Social bumblebees

Common carder bee (Bombus pascuorum)

Brown-banded carder bee (Bombus humilis)

Moss carder bee (Bombus muscorum)

Great yellow bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus)

Shrill carder bee (Bombus sylvarum)

Cuckoo bumblebees

Field cuckoo bumblebee (Bombus campestris)

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