White-tailed bumblebee

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White-tailed bumblebee
Bombus lucorum - Centaurea scabiosa - Keila.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Apidae
Genus: Bombus
Subgenus: Bombus
Species: B. lucorum
Binomial name
Bombus lucorum
(Linnaeus, 1761)[1]

The white-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lucorum) is a species of bumblebee, widespread and common throughout Europe. However, the name has been widely used for many of a complex of nearly identical-looking or cryptic species of bumblebees. A recent review of all of these species worldwide has helped to clarify its distribution in Europe and northern Asia, almost to the Pacific.[2] In the north, it reaches the Barents Sea. In southern Europe, however, it is an upland species, with its distribution never quite reaching the Mediterranean.[3]


B. lucorum is a large bumblebee, the queen having a length of 18–22 mm (0.71–0.87 in) and a wingspan of around 36 mm (1.4 in). The workers are normally somewhat smaller. The species has a short proboscis. The predominant colour is black, with a pale yellow collar, another yellow band on the second tergite (abdominal segment), and a white tail. Both darker and paler forms exist.[4]

Yellow-haired male feeding from Lamium album "deadnettle" flowers


The hibernating queen emerges very early, in southern Britain usually in March. The nest, which can be very large, up to 400 workers, is usually built underground, often in disused rodent nests. As many other bumblebee species, the males fly in a low patrolling circuit, depositing pheromones on grass to attract young queens. The bumblebee visits many flowers, including many garden plants, as lavender, Hebe, Rhododendron, deadnettles, thistles, and vetches.[4]


  1. ^ "White-tailed Bumble Bee Bombus lucorum (Linnaeus, 1761)". Biolib.cz. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  2. ^ P. H. Williams et al. (2012). "Unveiling cryptic species of the bumblebee subgenus Bombus s. str. world-wide with COI barcodes" (PDF). Systematics and Biodiversity 10: 21–56. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  3. ^ Pierre Rasmont. "Bombus (Bombus) lucorum (Linnaeus, 1761)". Université de Mons. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Benton, Ted (2006). "Chapter 9: The British Species". Bumblebees. London, UK: HarperCollins Publishers. pp. 316–321. ISBN 0007174519.