Today a look at the heather bumblebee, Bombus jonellus. The heather bumblebee is amongst the smallest of bumblebees in Britain, some workers being very small. The species commonly collects nectar and pollen from heather flowers and in Hastings the best place to see them is amongst heather patches at Warren Glen and Firehills in Hastings Country Park Nature Reseve.
This species is very similar to Bombus hortorum (commonly seen in gardens and woodland edge) with two yellow bands on the thorax, and one yellow band on the abdomen and a white ‘tail’, but jonellus is much smaller, more rotund with a short face. Bombus jonellus also has this unusual behaviour of approaching a heather flower the right way up and very quickly flipping upside-down when landing on the flower.