Bombus lapidarius

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Red-tailed bumblebee
Red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius).JPG
In Oxfordshire
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Apidae
Subfamily: Apinae
Tribe: Bombini
Genus: Bombus
Subgenus: Melanobombus
Species: B. lapidarius
Binomial name
Bombus lapidarius
(Linnaeus, 1758)[1]

Bombus lapidarius, the red-tailed bumblebee, is a species of bumblebee in the subgenus Melanobombus.


Red-tailed bumblebees are mostly coloured black, though the hindquarters are auburn red. Males feature a yellow band on their chests. Their nests are built in cairns or walls, which explains the literal meanings of their common names in various Germanic languages: "Stone bumblebee" (cf. German: Steinhummel, Swedish: Stenhumla). They are also found though in the straw of stables or in abandoned birds' nests. An average colony consists of about 100 to 200 worker bees. Red-tailed bumblebees prefer the nectar of various species of clover and deadnettle.

Conservation status[edit]

Red-tailed bumblebees rank among the most common and most recognized bumblebees of Central Europe, but rarer species have similar appearances, such as Bombus ruderarius.

This species is widespread across Ireland, though some evidence indicates the species is declining in agricultural grasslands.[2] It is considered Near Threatened in Ireland.[3]


  1. ^ ITIS Report
  2. ^,4860,en.pdf
  3. ^ Fitzpatrick, U., T.E. Murray, A. Byrne, R.J. Paxton & M.J.F. Brown (2006) Regional red list of Irish Bees. Report to National Parks and Wildlife Service (Ireland) and Environment and Heritage Service (N. Ireland).
  • Leisering, Horst; Michael Lohmann (1998). Großer Naturführer in Farbe (Great coloured Guide to Nature) (in German). Compact Verlag, Munich. ISBN 3-8174-5229-2.