British bumblebee identification guide

This British bumblebee identification guide is an easy-to-use key designed to help you identify bumblebees by looking at the insects' colour patterns.

Identifying the 25 British bumbleebee species can be tricky as there is a huge variation of patterns within each species.

Use the interactive tool below to find out more about your bee, including species characteristics, habitat and distribution.

Identification tips

1.    When identifying your bee look at the hair colour and not the body colour for guidance. For example, look at the tail end of the bee below.The hair is yellow but the body looks to have black stripes across it. Ignore the body colour.

British bumblebee identification


2.    For each body part on the key, choose the colour closest to the section on your bee.

British bumblebee identification


3.    The yellow and orange shades below show the colour ranges you can match your bee colouration with.

British bumblebee identification