North American Bumblebees, 4, 1, 2, 3, 5, 6

Related pages N. American cuckoo bumblebees - Is it a bumblebee? - Looks like a bumblebee - Other bees1, 2

I have quoted the tongue lengths as this can determine which flowers the bumblebee will gather nectar from, for more see the tongue page. I have also quoted body lengths in millimetres. This information comes from a number sources, and really should be used as a rough guide. Early workers can be much smaller than later workers, also the methods used for measuring vary - some sources measure dead bees and others live bees.

Bombus borealis

Bombus borealis

Range: Southern Canada from Nova Scotia to Alberta, Northern USA from Maine to New Jersey west to North Dakota and South Dakota. An uncommon species found in and around woodlands. Favourite flowers include vetches, thistles, asters, and comfrey.
Long-tongued species, hair length medium and even. Body lengths in mm, queen 18 - 22, worker 13 - 15, male 14 - 16.
Nests underground. Males gather outside the nest entrance to await the emergence of young queens for mating. Queens are seen from May, workers from June, and males from July.

Bombus fervidus fervidus, California bumblebee, Yellow bumblebee

Bombus fervidus fervidus Bombus fervidus female**

Range: Quebec and New Brunswick, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, south to Georgia, west to British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California and Mexico. This species is common in the west, but declining in the east.

Found in grassland, farm land parks and gardens. Favourite flowers include, honeysuckles, goldenrod, dandelion, potentilla, thistles, clovers, loosestrife, vetches, bee balm, Penstemon, sunflowers. Usually nests above ground, but occasionally underground. Males gather around the nest entrance waiting for the emergence of young queens for mating. Can be aggressive. The photograph above shows considerable wing wear. This bumblebee is becoming less common. Queens seen from April, workers and males from May.
Long tongued species, hair length is short-medium and even. Body lengths in mm queen 18 - 21, worker 11 - 17, male 13 - 16.

Bombus appositus, White-shouldered bumblebee

Bombus appositus

Range: British Columbia east to Saskatchewan, south to New Mexico, Wyoming, Arizona and California. It is found in open meadows and is fairly common. Favourite flowers include thistles, asters, delphiniums, clovers, geraniums, and penstemon.
This bumblebee has a long face, long tongue, and its hair is short - medium length and even. Body lengths in mm, queen 20 - 24, worker 11 - 18, male 10 - 16. Queens and workers are seen from mid May, and males from July. Males gather around the nest entrance to mate with newly emerged queens. It nests underground and on the surface.

Bombus sylvicola

Bombus sylvicola

Range: Alaska east to Newfoundland, south through the mountains (Cascades, Sierra Nevada, Rockies), California, Utah, New Mexico. In open grassy areas in high forest, tundra or taiga at 2400 - 4000 m. Uncommon. Favourite flowers include asters, thistles, goldenrod, ragwort, lupins, fireweed, sweet clover and sandwort.
Medium tongue length. Hair is long and uneven. Body length in millimetres, queen 15 - 17, worker 10 - 14, male 11 - 14. Queens seen from mid May, workers from mild June and males from July. Mostly nests underground, but can nest on the surface.

Bombus huntii, Hunt's bumblebee

Bombus huntii Bombus huntii male**

Range: British Columbia, Alberta south to California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico. Found in high desert scrub land. A common species. Favourite flowers include, thistles, lupins, Phacelia, Rudbekia, Asters, alliums, roses, apple and cherry blossom, and Penstemon.
Medium tongue length. Hair short-medium and even. Body lengths in mm. queen, 19 - 20, worker 11 - 14, male 9 - 13. Queens seen from mid March, workers from April and males from mid June. Nests underground. Note the jagged edge to the wings which is a sign of wing wear, and probably age.

Bombus flavifrons dimidiatus and Bombus flavifrons flavifrons

Bombus flavifrons dimidiatusBombus flavifrons dimidiatus Bombus flavifrons flavifrons

Range: Southern British Columbia to California. Found from sea level up to 2700 m, in open grassy prairies, mountain meadows, and northern forests. Common. Favourite flowers include, Epilobium, vetches, clovers, geranium, thistles, sunflowers, goldenrod, dandelion, penstemon.
The queen and workers have a long tongue. The hair length is medium and uneven. Body lengths in mm, queen 16 - 18, worker 10 - 13, male 10 - 14. Queens are seen from late April, workers from mid May, and males from late May.
Nests mainly underground, but there are reports of surface nests.

Bombus sitkensis

Bombus sitkensis

Range: Alaska south to California, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming. On open grassy prairies and mountain meadows. Common. Favourite flowers include, lupins, currants, roses, vetches and rhododendrons.
Body lengths in mm, queen 15 - 20, worker 9 - 14, male 9 - 14. Queens are seen from late March, workers from mid May, and males from May. The hair is long, shaggy and uneven. Tongue length is medium. Nests underground.

**Images taken from the wonderful