The Great yellow bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus) is the United Kingdom’s rarest bumblebee since their rapid decline over the recent years.
At one point, they could be spotted in a variety of areas throughout the UK however, nowadays they are localised to regions in the Orkneys, Caithness, Sutherland and Scottish Islands.
This species shows a huge preference for the Red Clover flower and majorly sticks to these sorts of flower-rich locations. Their nests are usually in swaths of thick vegetation or just underneath the surface of the ground in their much-loved areas.
The queens of the Great yellow bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus) kind are bigger than the other two castes (a common characteristic throughout all UK bumblebees) and display dense, velvety hair. On the contrary, the workers and males tend to consist of much longer, widely distributed hairs which make them appear “messier” than their queens. However, all three castes have a sandy tone on their abdomen and thorax which is broken up by a black stripe along the wing base.
The Short-haired bumblebee (Bombus subterraneus) is a similar species but you will never find them near each other since this variety only resides at Dungeness (hundreds of miles from them)!
The Field cuckoo bumblebee (Bombus campestris) is akin to the Bombus Distinguendus although the face gives it away (shorter than the Great yellow). Plus, since it is a cuckoo type of bumblebee, they have no pollen baskets which is a great identification feature.
Additionally, as the ginger carder species — the Common carder bumblebee (Bombus pascuorum), Moss carder bumblebee (Bombus muscorum) and Brown-banded carder bumblebee (Bombus humilis) — ages, their all-over ginger colour can fade to a yellowish hue. In this instance, they have been mistaken for the Great yellow bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus) until closer inspection.