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Field Cuckoo Bee Bombus campestris

Flight season: April to September.

Flowers visited: Spring bees like ground ivy, dandelions, hawthorn and clover. Summer bees like thistles, knapweeds and brambles.

Nesting preferences: A parasite of the Common carder, Bombus pascuorum.


Status: Fairly widespread and frequent over the UK but there are indications of a decline in the South and South West.


Similar species: Males are very variable but can generally be easily recognised as no other UK cuckoo bee is as variable and has two large hair tufts on sternite (plates beneath abdomen) 6 (the tip of the tail).


Description: Females are quite round creatures with a sparsely haired, shiny abdomen. Small patches of white adorn her tail separated with black hairs in a downward triangle pattern. Males tend to be most proud of their extensive white hair on their abdomen which almost reaches the thorax. However, as he is a variable creature, his coat can range from completely black to very pale.


Where to see them: I have only seen this species up on the valley tops near Nantyr, but I would expect to see them anywhere where the common carder, Bombus pascuorum, is abundant.

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