Heath bumblebee

Heath bumblebee ©Jane Adams

Heath bumblebee

Scientific name: Bombus jonellus
The Heath bumblebee is not only found on heathland, but also in gardens and parks. It nests in small colonies of less than 100 workers in all kinds of spots, such as old birds' nests, mossy beds and even roofs!

Species information

Statistics

Length: 1.2-1.6cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

March to September

About

Despite this bee's common name, it is found in gardens and parks, as well as on heathland. It will nest in many different places, including old birds' nests, underground small mammal nests, among moss and leaf litter, and even in roof spaces. The nests are generally small with fewer than 50 workers. Queens emerge from hibernation in March and may start a second nest in early summer. Workers may be seen until September. The Heath Bumblebee visits a wide variety of flowers.

How to identify

The Heath bumblebee is a small bumble bee with three yellow bands (one at the front of the abdomen and two on the thorax), and a white tail. It is similar in appearance to the Garden Bumblebee, but has a much rounder, shorter face.

Distribution

Widespread, except in Eastern England.

Did you know?

bumblebees are under threat. There are 25 species in the UK, but three of these are already extinct. You can help by planting native flowers and trees in your garden to attract bees.

How people can help

Bees and wasps, along with many of our other, often-overlooked insects, are important pollinators for all kinds of plants, including those which we rely on like fruit trees. The Wildlife Trusts recognise the importance of healthy habitats to support all kinds of species throughout the food chain, so look after many nature reserves for the benefit of wildlife. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from coppicing to craft-making, stockwatching to surveying.