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UK Nature > Bees > Bombus pratorum
Scientific Name: Bombus pratorum
Common Name: Early Bumblebee
Bombus pratorum, more commonly known as the Early Bumblebee, is one of the smaller species of bumblebee, the queen is up to 17 mm in length and has a wingspan of up to 32 mm. The front part of the thorax is covered with yellow hairs, even though the thorax may be covered with yellow hairs entirely, especially in males. The hairs however are always brightly yellow and do not tend to be brown as in the case of the Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum). Often the first part of the abdomen is yellow as well, but the yellow hairs may be absent here. The tail is strikingly orange.
Bombus pratorum is not the earliest species seen in the year; the bigger Bombus terrestris sometimes flies by the end of February, while most Early Bumblebees start looking for a nest in the middle of March. Will visit a wide range of flowers and can be found almost everywhere: meadows, gardens, parks and the edges of forests. A very common species all over the British Isles.
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