thanks for sharing your story. The bumblebees there are so lucky to have you looking out for them.
On the continent you will have more species of bumblebees than we have here in the UK (only 24 species) so it may not always be possible to identify your bumbles.
But the one you have photographed looks very much like a Bombus pratorum (in English they are called ‘Early bumblebees’).
They are almost the smallest of the bumblebees. They have short red/orange tails and a bright yellow collar (the band behind the head). The queens often have a second yellow band on the first segment of the abdomen and this second band can be present or missing in the worker caste. It looks to be missing in the bee in your photo.
I hope this ID is correct and it’s not a european bumblebee that I’m not familiar with,
All the best for a great bumblebee season, elaine
Hi Andrew , welcome to the forum.
You beat me to it Elaine - A Bombus lapidarius drone might also have a yellow band on its thorax, however it is a bit early for male B. laps to be around, and in any case, the bumble in your pic has a pollen load on its back legs and therefore is female not male. So I think it is a Bombus pratorum worker foraging the borage.
for your help.
The strange thing is that in that same nest, there are also much larger workers that are completely black with an orange tail. For that reason, I thought these were all bombus lapidarius. I’ll try to make a picture of one of these larger workers.
Hi Andrew again,
Please do try to get a pic of the larger workers for us to see. Intriguing! As Elaine mentioned, maybe your bumble is a different continental species after all. Perhaps someone else from Belgium might give us a better answer?