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UK Nature  > Bees  > Bombus vestalis

Scientific Name:   Bombus vestalis
Common Name:   Vestal Cuckoo Bumblebee

Bombus vestalis, commonly known as the Vestal Cuckoo Bumblebee, is a species of cuckoo bumblebee that lives in most of Europe, as well as North Africa and western Asia. It is a brood parasite that takes over the nests of other bee species. Its primary host is the Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris). After its initial classification as Psithyrus vestalis, this bumblebee recently was reclassified into the genus Bombus, subgenus Psithyrus.

The queen is a large bumblebee with a length up to 21 mm (0.83 in) and a wingspan of 37 mm (1.5 in); the male is considerably smaller (16 mm (0.63 in). The bumblebee is predomninantly black, with an orange collar. The third tergite has a border of yellow hairs, and the hairs on the fifth tergite are mostly white. The males are similar to the females, but smaller and with longer antennae.
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