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Red-tailed bumble’s spotted.


Total Posts: 22

Joined 2013-08-09


The last few days i have seen at least 3 red-tailed bumble’s which has surprised me as i thought they were the last to emerge in about May.

Am i correct in this assumption?

Has anyone else seen any?


Total Posts: 64

Joined 2013-06-13



I saw my first B.lapidarius queen on the 1st April, but have not yet see another.  I have kept records going back many years where I have recorded the first sighting of ~B.lapidarius queens in my garden in Carmarthenshire:

2010:  12 April             2011:  29 March       2012:  11 march   2013:  Did not observe a queen     2014:  1 April

They generally are later emerging than the other common species but I think they are more dependant on longer warm spells of weather than say B.terrestris or pratorum is.

Hope this is of interest.



Total Posts: 285

Joined 2012-05-24


Down here in the southern Chilterns we had a warm but grey day yesterday - about 16C.

On a countryside walk to see the Bluebells, we had to walk up a flat valley bottom with fields alongside.
There were large numbers of Dandelion flowers in the grass beside the track and alongside the fields.

I spotted an amazing number of Red Tailed queens working the dandelions.
In an ‘out and back’ distance of around a mile I must have seen 20 - 30 B. lapidarius queens.

There were a few other species about too, mainly B. terrestris / lucorum queens and one Cuckoo female. 

There were also several B. t/l queens nest searching amongst the bluebells in the woodland strip further up the valley.

So, if we get some more warm weather at the weekend, it would be worth taking a careful look at your local Dandelion patches !



Total Posts: 64

Joined 2013-06-13



B.lapidarius seem to be attracted to dandelion flowers.
You are very lucky to see so many lapidaries queens, although I believe they are often thought to be common on chalk grasslands.
I have seen a couple red tails nest searching a couple of weeks ago but in this area we never seem to get many red tails.
I have noticed this year that Common carder queens seem to be in greater numbers than previous years, Again never get a large number of Carders in my area. Far the most common are the Buff tails.

Have you nay nests in your garden ?



Total Posts: 18

Joined 2014-06-09


I’ve also been wondering about B lapidarius this year, as I remember seeing quite a few last summer but until the last few days I’d barely seen any at all.

But over the weekend I noticed a red-tail, though I was rather gobsmacked to find out, when I looked at it more closely, that it’s a male!  But his two yellow stripes on the thorax and his clearly yellow facial hair were quite distinctive.  I saw him again yesterday and this evening - I have some Linaria purpurea plants on the patio which are flowering nicely and he comes and feeds on these, as well as other flowers.

I am wondering if this year’s VERY mild winter has influenced the timing of their nesting cycles.  It was so mild that many of last year’s summer bedding plants survived the winter, including Verbenas, Lantana, Argyranthemums, Calendula and even one Nastirtium!  I live in Malvern, Worcs.

I still can’t recall having seen any red-tail females this year, though.