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Moss Carder Bee (Bombus muscorum)

Moss Carder Bee

Bombus muscorum

Once widespread throughout the UK, this species underwent significant decline in the twentieth century and is now mostly found in coastal regions.


Queens, workers and males all have a vibrant ginger thorax and a pale ginger/cream abdomen which has a distinct yellow wash in fresh individuals. The hair is short, dense and appears velvety. 

Males have whitish facial hairs.

Slightly larger than the other carder bumblebees, but is often indistinguishable from the Brown-banded Carder Bee. Some Scottish populations have black haired undersides.

About the bee

– bright ginger thorax
– hair paler around edges of thorax
– cream abdomen


– Queen: 14mm
– Worker: 10mm
– Male: 12mm

Tongue length



Usually on the surface in dense vegetation, using moss as a covering.

Colony size

Small (typically 40 to 120 workers).

Map and flight periods


Similar species

The Common Carder Bee is a much more abundant species. Variable in appearance, it can be very similar to the Moss Carder Bee but usually has a more rounded abdomen, with dark hair between the cream bands.

The Brown-banded Carder Bee appears very similar but usually has a brown band across the abdomen and black hairs at the bases of the wings.