This variety of bumblebee is the United Kingdoms own, native species. At one point, it was abundant all along the south of England. However, the population began to deplete after the 1950s and, once the 2000s rolled around, the Short-haired bumblebee (Bombus subterraneus) was pronounced extinct.
Luckily, there is a reintroduction program in full swing that involves bringing over new queens from Sweden. But since their extinction was mainly due to the lack of grassland habitats, the project aims to raise awareness to the public about maintaining these areas and ensuring bumblebees of all kinds can thrive. This has been going on since 2009 and experts are hoping to see an increase in the species soon.
Reports from this program have said that it is not only the Bombus Subterraneus that has seen a rise in abundance due to their efforts. Other rare bumblebees have been spotted buzzing around more frequently in the project areas.
When they are finally reestablished significantly enough, they tend to nest underground. Usually, they infiltrate burrows made by small mammals and utilise them for their medium-sized colony. What do we mean by medium-sized? Well, the Short-haired bumblebee’s will never have colonies that exceed 100 workers.
The queens display short hair (hence the English name) and boast a dull yellow collar and a thinner wisp of the same shade on the thorax to abdomen join. Further down, you will notice a paler toned strip halfway along the abdomen, with a white tail (a dirtier hue to those seen on the White-tail bumblebee (Bombus lucorum) and similar species) to finish it off. Both the workers and males sport the same characteristics but typically, they have longer hair.
It is worth mentioning that the ones coming over from abroad are darker than the bumblebees who were born and bred in the United Kingdom.