Tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Tree bumblebee

Tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Species distribution map from
Red: records 2000-present. Yellow: pre-2000 records.*

One of the ‘Big 7’ widespread and abundant species, found in a wide range of habitats across the UK despite only first arriving in the country in 2001. Appears to have a distinct preference for suburbia and woodlands, perhaps partially driven by its habit of nesting in bird boxes and other manmade environments, as well as tree holes. It can now be found well into Scotland, and is widespread and abundant across England and Wales. A very distinctive species, with a completely ginger-brown thorax and a black abdomen with a white tail. Particularly in males, the first and sometimes second abdominal segments can also be brown, but there are always entirely black segments between the brown and the tail.

Tree bumblebees. Photo credits: Jim Waller (left), Geoff Hall (right).

Melanic (all black) and semi-melanic specimens are not infrequent, but there is usually ginger discernible at the front or back of the thorax. Dark or worn specimens of the Common carder bumblebee (Bombus pascuorum) can sometimes appear similar but these never have the white tail of the Tree bumblebee.


Click here to read more about the fascinating lives of Tree bumblebees in this article written by Clive Hill.


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* This map displays the data currently publically available on the NBN Atlas website at Data have been contributed by a range of organisations: see here for the full list.  Please note that records from the national recording body (BWARS) are not yet available on the NBN so this map may appear incomplete.

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