Belongs to: bumblebees

Tree bumblebee Bombus hypnorum

Best time to see: late Feb to end Jul

Key facts

A bumblebee species that arrived in the UK in 2001 and has since spread across most of England

Principally a lowland species, found in woods and rough grassland and also parks and gardens

Widespread across continental Europe (as well as, more recently, the south of the UK)


Black, except for a russet-coloured abdomen and white tail

Regularly visit flowers of fruit trees and soft fruit such as raspberries

More aggressive than most other species of bumblebee, both in defending its own nest and attacking other bees' nests


Queens emerge from hibernation as early as late February, and nest in cavities above ground such as tree holes

Produce males and new queens from late May on, sometimes followed later by a partial second brood

Fond of nesting in birdboxes, if an old nest is left in place

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© Tony Gunton