The bilberry bumblebee (Bombus monticola) is also sometimes called the mountain bumblebee or the blaeberry bumblebee. It is a cold-loving species of uplands, moorlands and moorland edges which typically feeds on bilberries and willows, bird's-foot trefoil, clovers and brambles. Queens emerge from hibernation in April and workers are present from May onwards. They tend to nest at the base of bilberry or heather plants.
In the past the bilberry bumblebee was widely found in northern and western Britain but now appears to be in decline. As a cool-loving species it is likely to be vulnerable to climate change. In the UK it reaches the south-eastern edge of its distribution in the Peak District and is only found above 300 m. The Peak District is, therefore, likely to be one of the first places that it's decline will be observed.
- Queens (16 mm long), males (14 mm) and workers (12 mm) all have the same colouring
- Over half of the base of the abdomen is red and there are two lemon yellow bands on the
- Worker shown in illustration
Illustration (c) Chris Shields