Bilberry Bumblebee (Bombus Monticola)

The Bilberry bumblebee (Bombus monticola) is extremely localised and, unfortunately, known as a declining species. They can be seen only in moorland or heathland habitats since, as their name suggests, they love the bilberry plants and heather. Therefore, you can find them in Scotland, where you may hear them being referred to as Blaeberry bumblebees. 

Why is this species, in particular, decreasing so rapidly? It is mainly to do with climate change (what isn’t nowadays) since they need colder weather to survive (heather and bilberry cannot grow in an overly heated environment). Not to mention that some parties do not take care of their moorland and allow mammals to over-graze which cuts out a lot of the fodder for the Bilberry bumblebee (Bombus monticola) species.

They nest in tiny colony sizes of fewer than 50 workers in underground abodes. Typically, they will take over an old rodent’s burrow and utilise it for themselves. However, before the queens can do this, they must collect pollen from the bilberry flower otherwise it just won’t work! 

The castes (queens, workers and males) are very cute bumblebees. They all display a bright yellow collar and a stripe around the abdomen to thorax join. On top of this, the majority of their abdomen is a gorgeous, vivid orange colour — hence why they are known as pretty little bumbles. Also, the males are the only ones to have yellow fuzz on their heads which makes them that much extra-special.

The Scottish Isle Heath bumblebee (Bombus jonellus), the Early bumblebee (Bombus pratorum) and the Red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius) all consist of the red tail and yellow and black banded thorax that the Bombus Monticola showcases. But, you will find that the only species of bumblebee in the UK whose redness stretches over the majority of their abdomen is the precious Bilberry bumblebee (Bombus monticola). 

Get The Buzz!

Sign up to receive our newsletter!

Get helpful information about bees and gardening advice on the different ways you can help the UK's bee population!

You can unsubscribe at any time.