March Bee of the Month: Bombus Lapidarius – The Red-Tailed Bumblebee

Bombus Lapidarius, the red-tailed queen bee.

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Red-tailed bumblebees are a relatively common species, with black bodies and orange/red ‘tails.’ The queens are larger than the males, which look similar, but have additional yellow markings. These bees often build their colonies in stone walls, abandoned mouse or birds’ nests, or underground.

Like other bumblebees, the red-tailed bee’s colonies are much smaller than that of the honey bee, containing somewhere between 100 and 200 workers. It is found all over the UK and Europe- wherever there are flowers available for food. Clover is a particular favourite, as are dandelions and daisies, the flowers of which provide a convenient ‘landing platform’ for the bees.  The red-tailed bumblebee might be seen flying from April right the way through to November.