Garden bumblebee

Garden Bumblebee

Garden Bumblebee ©Chris Lawrence

Garden bumblebee

Scientific name: Bombus hortorum
Unsurprisingly, the garden bumblebee can be found in the garden, buzzing around flowers like foxgloves, cowslips and red clover. It is quite a large, scruffy-looking bee, with a white tail. It nests in colonies.

Species information


Length: up to 2.0cm

Conservation status


When to see

March to October


The garden bumblebee is a relatively large a bumble bee that can be found in a variety of habitats from woodlands to gardens, hence its name. It has a long tongue that allows it to feed from long, tubular flowers, such as foxglove and honeysuckle. It will also visit red clover, vetches and nettles for nectar and pollen. Queen garden bumblebees emerge from hibernation from March to June. They nest underground in colonies of up to 100 workers, often using the old nests of small mammals. Workers are found from late April and new males and females are seen from July to October.

How to identify

The garden bumblebee is a large, scruffy-looking bee, with a long tongue and face. It has yellow bands at the collar, rear of the thorax and at the first segment of the abdomen, and the tip of the tail is white.


Widespread, but generally absent from upland areas.

Did you know?

The garden bumblebee has the longest tongue of all our bumble bees. It can stretch up to 2cm, which is as long as its own body! This means it can reach right inside flowers like foxgloves and cowslips.

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