On the 2nd June 2009 I was pottering about in the garden when I noticed an unusual bumblebee nectaring on the Geraniums. It was obviously different from all other bumbles because it had the completely ginger-haired thorax of something like the Common Carder bee (Bombus pasuorum) but instead of having a ginger or blackish abdomen the abdomen was jet black with a starkly contrasting white tail.
A quick text to a Matt Smith, an entomologist friend, confirmed my initial thoughts – Bombus hypnorum, a recent addition to the British list from the continent. Matt had a record from the Reading area already but it is a species that is just starting to appear in our area so it is still pretty rare.
I don’t have any photos – it flew away before I could grab my camera – but if you follow this BWARS link you should get some pictures of this species. Hopefully my bumble is nesting nearby and I will get some photos later in the year! 🙂