Cornish Biodiversity Network  -  Supporting Wildlife Recording

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Cornish Red Data (2009)

The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.

Bombus ruderarius - Small Red-tailed Bumblebee

Range & Status

This species has a scattered distribution in southern England, the Midlands and southwest Wales, with two island populations in the Hebrides. It is generally declining.

Regional Distribution

It is possibly extinct in Cornwall although difficult to separate workers from the common B. lapidarius . There are some historical records but probably always uncommon in Cornwall (Almond, 1975).

Habitat & Ecology

This is a medium\endash tongued, surface nesting species. The queens are relatively early to emerge. It is present in a very wide range of habitats including dunes, machair, coastal and chalk grassland, arable, brownfield sites and heathland. Research is necessary to determine its exact niche in the West Country. It utilises flower-rich habitats with early flowering Lamiaceae such as White Dead-nettle Lamium album and Ground Ivy Glechoma hederacea . Later on in the season Fabaceae such as Red Clover Trifolium pratense are important, although there may be additional climatic factors such as high rainfall and humidity affecting it in Cornwall.


Not applicable in Cornwall.


The protection of flower-rich habitats is required. It is a BAP species (2007).


I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.

The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.

Cornish Biodiversity Network. 2017.