Apis Perniger HARRIS 1776; Bombus villarricaensis ASPERENDE BOER 1992; Bombus ibericus PITTIONI 1938
Follows P. Williams: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/research/projects/bombus/mg.html#ruderatus
A large bumblebee with a very long tongue, which is often held outstretched as the bee approaches a flower. It is one of the three species found visiting very deep blooms such as foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) and honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum)(the others being B. pascuorum and B. hortorum). Separating B. ruderatus and its close relative B. hortorum is very difficult, resulting in many problems in establishing the range of the latter species. There is considerable variability in the extent and brightness of the colour bands and the tail colour. All-black (including tail) specimens are most likely to be this species (named as variety harrisellus). (See BWARS Newsletter Aut. 2004). The situation becomes even more complex in mainland Europe, with at least one further, closely related, species present.
England, north to Northumberland. Due to considerable difficulties in confirmation of many of the records shown in the IBRA Atlas of Bumblebees (Anon 1980) the current map does not include records where a specimen has not been re-examined. However, there can be little doubt that it was formerly much more widespread than it is at present, although always much more southerly than B. hortorum. Found throughout central and southern Europe, but not including the Iberian peninsula. Here it is also much more southerly than B. hortorum in its distribution and is considered to be in major decline.