One of the ‘Big 7’ widespread and abundant species, found in a wide range of habitats across the UK. It is less abundant in Scotland than in England but has been increasing in recent years. At least in cities in the southern UK, the species is becoming winter-active, with nest establishment in October-November and workers flying all winter, feeding particularly on Mahonia bushes.
A large species with dark yellow bands at the front of the thorax and middle of the abdomen, queens are the only caste which actually has buff-coloured tails: in workers and males, the tails are white, although males in particular, often have narrow but distinct yellow-buff band at the front of the tail.
Seen in the gardens of Chiswick House in June 2020