Bombus lucorum sensu lato

Description and notes

Bombus lucorum sensu lato is a species complex of B. lucorum, B. cryptarum and B. magnus. These three species cannot be reliably distinguished from each other.


Found throughout the region, including the Isles of Scilly and the Channel Islands. It is widespread in Europe, middle and northern latitudes of Asia, eastwards to northern Mongolia (Løken 1973).

Status (in Britain only)

These bees are not regarded as being scarce or threatened.


Found in a wide variety of habitats, including montane areas.

Flight period

Univoltine: queens can be seen nest-searching from March onward and males can be found between July and October.

Pollen collected

Polylectic.This species has a very broad diet and is notable for regularly visiting aphid honeydew on trees.

Nesting biology

Nests are underground in old mouse or vole nests.The nest is large, with over 200 individuals in many instances, but it is possible that the different species will prove to have differently-sized nests.

Flowers visited

Visits are made to a wide variety of flowers, both for pollen and nectar.


The cuckoo-bee Bombus bohemicus is associated with the B. lucorum aggregate (see Atlas Part 5, page 118).

Author of profile

M Edwards.