Species of the month

Species of the Month: Tree bumblebee

Help us with our wildlife surveys

Our Species of the Month species surveys are an important way you can help us.  Records are sent to DERC (Dorset Environmental Records Centre) who collate this information to build up a picture of the of the state of Dorset's wildlife. So please help us help wildlife by filling in the form below. Thank you!

May Species of the Month: Tree Bumblebee

Scientific Name: Bombus hypnorum


The tree bumblebee can be identified by its unique colour pattern - a fuzzy, orange thorax, a black abdomen, and a white tail.

Tree bumblebee © Jane Adams


It consumes nectar from a wide range of flowers, particularly those of soft fruits, such as raspberries and blackberries.  They gather pollen to feed their young.



Out of all bumblebees, this bee is the most arboreal, and will nest in bird boxes or roof cavities.  At this time of the year, males can be seen buzzing in small swarms outside of nests waiting to mate with new queens.  The male bees males cannot sting, and this species is not particularly aggressive unless threatened or disturbed.

Did you know?

Its success in becoming one of our most common bees may be partly due to its ability to exploit nest sites that other bees do not use.

The tree bumblebee does not appear to be a threat to native wildlife and has been welcomed by many in Britain as they are good pollinators.

Where can they be found?

Found across most of England, Wales and Ireland. They can be found in damp woodlands, along sunny, woodland rides and mature hedgerows, and in large gardens. 

You may see a tree bumblebee at one of our reserves, including: 


Corfe Mullen Meadows Nature Reserve

Lytchett Bay Nature Reserve

Girdlers Coppice Nature Reserve


Wildlife gardening tips

Plant soft fruits in your garden, as the tree bumblebee is fond of the nectar from their flowers.

Install a bird box for tree bumblebees to make their nest in.

Provide a shallow source of water with pebbles or something similar for the bees to rest on as they drink.

Species of the Month sightings form

Your details will only be used by Dorset Wildlife Trust and we will never give your information to other organisations to use for their own purposes. You can change your communications preference at any time by contacting us on 01202 692033. When you have completed the form, please click the Send button.

Please tick to confirm you are happy for us to keep details of your sighting on our database. In filling in this form and providing us with your email address you are consenting to us contacting you about your sighting.
Where appropriate we would like to pass on the details of your sighting to the Dorset Environmental Records Centre in order for it to be of use in local and national conservation projects. Please tick if you are happy for us to do this.
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Blue tit © Stewart Canham