Vestal Cuckoo Bee

Bombus vestalis


Body length 21mm. A large Cuckoo Bumblebee that parasitizes Bombus terrestris. They are black with a ginger thoracic band and a white tip to the abdomen. Immediately before the white tip there are sulphur yellow patches on either side of the abdomen. The male is similar but smaller with long antennae and the sulphur patches can form a complete band and there may be another sulphur band at the beginning of the abdomen, but this isn't always present.


A large range of habitats, wherever Bombus terrestris can be found, including woodland and open habitats.

Status and distribution

Common and widespread in the south and east but uncommon further north and in Scotland. Common in Nottinghamshire and at Netherfield Lagoons.

Best time to see

March to September.