Bombus pascuorum identification
workers and males look similar to the queen, but are a little smaller. Lengths, queen 16-18,
workers 10-15, male 13-14 mm.
This queen on the left has her tongue sheath extended, her tongue is
inside and is longer than the sheath.
Although there are a few species of
ginger coloured bumblebees in the UK this is by far the most common in nearly
all areas. The hairs of the abdomen are lighter in colour to those of the
thorax, and there are a few black hairs. If there is a complete absence of black hairs on the abdomen,
then the bumblebee is probably not B. pascuorum, but either B. humilis or B. muscorum
In a very sunny summer the
hairs of older bees can become faded and appear beige in colour. The thorax is
always covered in hairs, with other bumblebees there is sometimes a bald patch
in the centre of the thorax of older workers and the queen. This can be caused by wear as the bees rub against
the side and roof of the nest, but this is hardly ever seen in Bombus
When I was marking bees in order to follow them and record their
foraging behaviour I found that B. pascuorum was the most difficult to
mark as its thorax was so hairy. Early in the
summer, before it has been bleached by the sun, the hairs are a beautiful, rich
ginger colour as you can see in the photographs above.