News & Events
Help & Reference
How to Watch
How to Record
Learn About Nature : Reference Guide
Endangered & Rare Plants & Animals
Help with Identification
About Us
Help & Reference : Learn About Nature : Reference Guide : Insects & Spiders : Buff-Tailed Bumblebee

Buff-Tailed Bumblebee

Common name: Buff-Tailed Bumblebee

Also known as: Large Earth Bumblebee
Scientific name: Bombus terrestris
Size: The Queen is 2-2.7cm long, workers are 1-2cm long.
Colour: Dark head, band of yellow, dark band, yellow band, dark band then white tail.


One of the most numerous and most distinctive bumblebees in the UK. The Queen is the first bumblebee to be seen in the Spring, after she emerges from hibernation. She will make a nest and lay eggs which turn into the worker bees.

She will then lay more eggs toward the end of the summer which become male bees, and some which become new Queens. The males leave the nest looking for new Queens to mate with. The Queens hatch and look for a safe place to hibernate over winter. The original Queen and workers will then die.


Throughout the UK. Seen regularly in Corfe Mullen gardens and meadows.


Nectar and pollen from flowers


The Queen makes a nest underground (eg an old mouse burrow). Usually in undergrowth, which could be in gardens, fields or woods.

Did you know

The Queen keeps a "nectar pot" to keep her going through bad weather.

They can sting more than once (as they do not leave their sting behind). They only sting in self defence or if their nest is being harmed.



Buff Tailed Bumblebee






Extra Information


Amateur Entomologists'
Society (AES)