Bombus (Psithyrus) sylvestris | Four Coloured Cuckoo Bee



Conservation status

Least concern

Species Biology


  • Cuckoo bumblebee
  • Females have a white tail and one yellow/orange band at the top of the thorax
  • In females the end of abdomen and the sting are strongly curled under the body
  • Males have a white tail with a ginger/red tip. They have one yellow band at the top of the thorax and a smaller yellow band at the base of the thorax 
  • Can be confused with B. bohemicus, B. barbutellus and B. vestalis


Widespread. Found in a range of habitats but most commonly recorded from heath, bog and woodland sites.

Flight period


Nesting biology

Breeds in nests of B. pratorum and probably B. jonellus

Flowers visited

Polylectic - Taraxacum, Scabiosa, Knautia, Centaurea, Carduus, Ribes, Castanea, Rubus


World distribution(GBIF)

Palaearctic region, Oriental border

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2019

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Conservation status: FitzPatrick Ú., Murray T.E., Byrne A., Paxton R.J., Brown M.J.F. (2006) Regional Red List of Irish Bees, Publ. Rep. to National Parks and Wildlife Service (Ireland) and Environment and Heritage Service (N. Ireland).

Flowers visited & World distribution: Westrich, P. (1989) Die Wildbienen Baden-Württembergs. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart, Germany.