Belongs to: bumblebees

Compare with: common carder bee

Brown-banded carder bee Bombus humilis

drastic reduction in range and numbers

Best time to see: mid May to mid Sep

Key facts

A nationally scarce species, but relatively common in Essex along the Thames estuary

Found in worked-out pits, old flower-rich grassland, sea walls and open areas in country parks

Require extensive flower-rich foraging areas, especially deadnettles and flowers in the pea family


Queens are fairly small and predominantly yellow-orange in colour, without banding on the thorax

Workers are similar to queens but much smaller

Distinguished from the common carder bee by having no black hairs on the abdomen


Queens emerge from hibernation usually from mid-May, build themselves up, then search for a nest-site

Nest is made of grass and moss on the ground in tall open vegetation

The colony peaks in August and workers continue foraging into September

© Peter Harvey