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

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

There are 46 species of bumblebee in north America. The body lengths are in millimetres and do not include the antennae. The tongue lengths are given when known as this will help in ID as a short tongued bee cannot reach the nectar of a long corolla flower unless it is nectar robbing, and a long tongued bee can forage from any flower, but will usually show a preference for complicated or long corolla flowers. For more on this see the tongue page. And the behaviour page.

Bombus lucorum queen

{Bombus lucorum}
Range: Alaska south to Southern British Columbia and Alberta, east through Yukon and North Western Territories.

Bombus ternarius, Tri-colored bumblebee

Bombus ternarius
Range: Yukon east to Nova Scotia, New York, Pennsylvania south to Georgia, Michigan, Kansas, Montana, British Columbia. In and around temperate and boreal forests and wetlands. Favourite flowers include; milkweeds, currants, goldenrod, rhododendron. Usually nests underground. A common species in the east, but rare in the west.
Short - medium tongue length. Hair short and even. Body lengths in mm, queen 17 - 19, worker 9 - 13, male 10 - 14. Queens are seen from April, workers from May and males from July.

Bombus terricola terricola, Yellow banded bumblebee

Bombus terricola terricolaBombus terricola male**
Range: Nova Scotia to Florida, West to British Columbia, Montana, South Dakota. Found in temperate and boreal forests, and slightly higher in the Appalachians, into the tundra and taiga of Canada and western U. S. Usually found close to woodland and wetland. Favourite flowers include; willows, roses, honeysuckle, goldenrod, currants and asters. Nests underground. Queens seen from April, workers and males from May in the east and June in the west.
Note: Once common, but its range has declined dramatically since 1990 and is considered rare in the west. Body length in mm, queen 19 - 21, worker 10 - 15, male 13 - 15. Hair is short and even. Short tongued. Is a nectar robber. Parasitised by B. ashtonii.

Bombus terricola occidentalis, Western bumblebee

Bombus terricola occidentalis, Bombus occidentalisBombus occidentalis**

Range: Alaska south to northern California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, South Dakota. Found in open, grassy areas, parks, gardens, chaparral, mountain meadows and scrub. This bumblebee is now rare.
Note: also known as Bombus occidentalis. Often forages from red flowers, and nectar robs hummingbird pollinated flowers. Favourite flowers include, sweet clover, Asters, goldenrod, dandelions, thistles, vetches and knapweed. Populations have decreased since 1990. Body length in mm, queen 20 - 24, worker 9 - 15, male 12 - 16. Queens are seen from mid March, workers and males from mid June. Hair is short- medium and even. Short tongued. Nests underground.

Bombus vandykei

Bombus vandykei

Range: Washington to southern California, in grassy prairies and meadows. Nests underground. Uncommon. Favourite flowers include Phacelia, Clarkia, twistflower, Penstemon and Stachys.
A medium to long-tongued species. Hair short to medium, but shaggy and uneven. Body lengths, queens 14 - 18 mm, workers 10 - 14 mm, males 10 - 13 mm. Queens are seen from late March, workers and males from late April.

Bombus vosnesenskii, Yellow-faced bumblebee

Bombus vosnesneskii

Range: British Columbia south to California, Nevada, Mexico. Common. Favourite flowers include lupins, thistles, buckwheat, Phacelia, Clarkia. This bumblebee has a medium tongue length. Hair is medium length and even. Body lengths - queen 18 - 20 mm, worker 8 - 17 mm, male 10 - 15 mm. Queens seen from February, but main emergence is in May/June, workers from April, but mainly from mid May, and males from June, but mainly in August.

Bombus californicus

Bombus californicus

Range: British Columbia, Alberta south to California, Arizona, New Mexico, Mexico.
This species is uncommon. Its favourite flowers include thistles, clovers, Penstemon, desert mint, milk vetch, asters, lupins, phlox delphinium and wild lantana. It has a long tongue, and its hair is short and even. Queens and workers are seen from mid April and males from June. Workers and queens 11 - 21 mm, males 13 - 16 mm body length. Nests on, under and above ground.

**Images taken from the wonderful