Bombus lapidarius ?

Which flowers in the walled garden are attractive to bees?
Certainly not the rose in the last post. Though we find their scent attractive, the bees will fly on by. It was the chives, welsh onions and hardy geraniums that drew the bees. They had what the bees needed: nectar and pollen.

The bees in an earlier post – after the rain – might be bombus terrestris, the garden bumble bee. But bee identification can be tricky.

Feeding on an allium flower was a large bee with an orange tail. I wonder if this is Bombus lapidarius? It’s size suggests that it was a Queen Bee. Although a better photo would help, the BBCT website gives clear guidelines and it suggests that this is most likely a Red-tailed Bumble Bee Queen.

The only other lookalike candidate is bombus rupestris, the Red-tailed cuckoo bumblebee. The female has an all-black head, thorax and abdomen with an orange-red tail.

Perhaps you have more experience of Bee id? Can you tell if this is Bombus rupestris?


Common bumblebees | Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Whereas Bombus lapidarius is found throughout the British Isles, it would be a sign that bombus rupestris was extending it’s range northwards if the bee in Chadkirk was identified as Bombus rupestris, the red-tailed cuckoo bumble bee.

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2 responses to “Bombus lapidarius ?

  1. Think its bombus lapidarius. Always difficult if you dont have the bee in front of you. I work on the principle with birds, that if I’m not sure, it’s bound to be the common one.

  2. Pingback: A-Z of Chadkirk : Bees | Friends of Chadkirk

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