Species of the Month: June 2024

Tree Bumblebee: Bombus hypnorum


During 2024, our 20th anniversary year, we are revisiting our Species of the Month archive to reshare some of our "greatest hits" through the years. This month we are going back to May 2015, and the then-relative newcomer Tree Bumblebee. The number of records has gone up sixfold (from 250 to 1,500), but there is sure to be many going unrecorded. Can you help bump the numbers further?


The Tree Bumblebee is a fairly recent arrival to Britain, with the first individual being spotted in Wiltshire in 2001. Since then, the species has rapidly spread out accross Britain and is now well established in south Wales. Despite this impressive colonisation, the species is still under recorded in the SEWBReC area, with just over 250 records (May 2015 total; July 2024 total is 1,503).

The species often makes a home in disused bird boxes, and spring is a good time of year to spot the large queens hunting for suitable nest sites. The colour and pattern of the Tree Bumblebee are unmistakable: queens, workers and males all have a black head, brown-ginger thorax, black abdomen with a white tail. More information about Tree Bumblebees is available from NatureSpot and Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

This map on Aderyn shows the distribution of Tree Bumblebee at a 10km square level for the whole of Wales. Zoom in or click on a 10km square to see the 1km square record distribution. You can view the SEWBReC 1km distribution map here.

If you spot a Tree Bumblebee during June (or see the species at any other time of year), please send us the record, ideally via SEWBReCORD or the LERC Wales App. Instructions on how to submit records are available here.