Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Subgenus Bombias

NM Bee - Bombus nevadensis Bee - Bombus auricomus Black-and-gold Bumble Bee - Bombus auricomus Bombus on Shrubby St. Johns Wort - Bombus auricomus Bombus pennslyvanicus  - Bombus auricomus Black-and-gold Bumble Bee - Bombus auricomus big bumble bee - Bombus auricomus Bombus nevadensis
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
No Taxon (Anthophila (Apoidea) - Bees)
Family Apidae (Cuckoo, Carpenter, Digger, Bumble, and Honey Bees)
Subfamily Apinae (Honey, Bumble, Longhorn, Orchid, and Digger Bees)
Tribe Bombini (Bumble Bees)
Genus Bombus (Bumble Bees)
No Taxon Subgenus Bombias
2 spp. in our area + 1 sp. in the Palaearctic (3 spp. total)(1)
Males have conspicuously large eyes and modified antennae. Females with ocelli low on face. Midleg with sharp angle.
holarctic group; B. auricomus occurs mostly east of the Rockies, while B. nevadensis occurs in Western North America. Records of B. nevadensis from eastern North America pertain to auricomus, which has often been considered a mere subspecies (map)(1)
Open grasslands and mountain meadows(2)
Both species prefers open habitats so have no doubt declined due to loss of grasslands and, in areas such as the Northeastern United States, due to regrowth of forests.

Their mating and nesting behavior is unusual reflecting their phylogenetic position outside (sister to) all other North American species.