Heath bumblebee

Bombus jonellus

About

Despite this bee’s common name, it is found in gardens and parks as well as heathland. It will nest in many different habitats including old bird nests, underground in old small mammal nests, amongst moss and leaf litter and in roof spaces. The nests are generally small with fewer than 50 workers. Queens emerge from hibernation in March and may start a second nest in early summer. Workers may be seen until September. The heath bumblebee visits a wide variety of flowers.

How to identify

This is a small bumblebee with three yellow bands – one at the front of the abdomen and two on the thorax, and a white tail. It is similar in appearance to the garden bumblebee but the heath bumblebee has a round face compared with the longer face of the garden bumblebee.

Where to find it

Widespread, except in eastern England

Habitats

When to find it

  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

Bumblebees are a vitally important for pollinating hundreds of plant species, including many crops. But they are under threat from loss of habitat and the increasing use of pesticides and herbicides. The Wildlife Trusts recognise the importance of healthy habitats to support all kinds of species, so are working closely with farmers, landowners and developers to promote wildlife-friendly practices. You can help too: encourage bees and wasps into your garden by providing nectar-rich flower borders and fruit trees. To find out more about gardening for wildlife, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.

Species information

Common name
Heath bumblebee
Latin name
Bombus jonellus
Category
Invertebrates
Bees and wasps
Statistics
Length 12-16mm
Conservation status
Common