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Common Carder 

Bombus pascuorum

Flight season: Late March into October.

Flowers visited: Huge variety of flowers used throughout the year with no real preferences.

Nesting preferences: Usually occurs at ground level in thick vegetation or under hedges. Occasionally occurs in holes in trees or nest boxes. Usually around 60-150 workers.


Status: Very common and widespread in the UK.

Parasites: The field cuckoo bumblebee, Bombus campestris.


Similar species: Very similar to the Moss Carder, Bombus muscorum, and the Brown-banded Carder, Bombus humilis, but has black hairs on abdomen (these may be very scarce and small).


Description: Our commonest of the carder species this is quite a variable bee. However, one sure fire way of confirming that this is indeed a common carder is to have a look and see if there are any black hairs on its abdomen. If there are then it is B. pascuorum, if not then it is something much rarer: either B. humilis, B. muscorum, neither of which have been recorded in the valley so far. Carder bees are so named because of a few bristles on their hind legs.  As the queen builds her nest in the springtime she will use these bristles to comb (or card) nesting material. This creates a blanket like piece which she proceeds to drape over her young eggs to keep them warm and safe from the cold tendrils of early spring.


Where to see them: Can be seen commonly throughout the valley although less so than the buff tails and garden bumblebees.

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