The queen red-tailed bumblebee is 20 to 23 millimetres long, the worker bees between 12 and 16 millimetres long, and the males 14 to 16 millimetres. Males can be distinguished by their long antennae. Red-tailed bumblebees are mostly black, with bright orange to auburn-red tails.
Red-tailed bumblebees inhabit open areas across Europe.
These bumblebees seek dark places for their nesting sites, preferring to nest under ground, at the bottom of dry dykes, in wood cavities or in undergrowth. Nests vary in size from 300 to 400 bees. Red-tailed bumblebees fly between April and September and feed on nectar from flowering plants.