Buff-tailed bumble bee feeding from flower

Buff-tailed bumblebee

Buff-tailed bumblebees are the UK's largest bumblebee species. The queen is the only one that has the buff-coloured tail, the workers all have white tails. The queen emerges in the spring after hibernating through the winter, and goes looking for a nest site. At the height of its success, a buff-tailed bumblebee colony may contain 150 workers.

Scientific name: Bombus terrestris

Rank: Species

Common names:

Large earth bumblebee

Watch video clips from past programmes (2 clips)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.


The Buff-tailed bumblebee can be found in a number of locations including: Europe, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Buff-tailed bumblebee distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

BBC News about Buff-tailed bumblebee

Video collections

Take a trip through the natural world with our themed collections of video clips from the natural history archive.

  • Brilliant bees Brilliant bees

    Bees are amazing - not only do they fulfil a vital role in our ecosystem, they are one of the most complex and sophisticated living things in the history of evolution.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.