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

Genus Bombus - Bumble Bees

Bombus, a cuckoo - Bombus citrinus - male bumble bee - Bombus Bee - Bombus nevadensis Bombus bimaculatus - Two-spotted Bumble Bee - Bombus bimaculatus - male Bumblebee - SK - Bombus rufocinctus Bombus sp. - Bombus id help please - Bombus bimaculatus Bombus fervidus? - Bombus fervidus
Classification
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, Long-horned, Orchid, and Digger Bees)
Tribe Bombini (Bumble Bees)
Genus Bombus (Bumble Bees)
Other Common Names
Proposed common names for 20 spp. (Scroll down)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
includes Psithyrus as a subgenus
Numbers
46 spp. (in 8 subgenera) n. of Mex. (1), (~260 spp. (in 15 subgenera) worldwide) (2)
Identification
Females collect pollen in a corbicula (vs scopa); this is a flattened area on the tibia
Loaded up corbicula
Corbicula with some pollen

Male Bombus have no corbicula on the hind leg. They also have 7 segments to the abdomen instead of 6. - Liz Day
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Overview of species(3)
Species balteatus - Golden-belted Bumble Bee
     
Species auricomus - Black and Gold Bumble Bee
     
Species nevadensis - Bombus nevadensis
     
Species affinis - Rusty Patched Bumble Bee
     
Species cryptarum - Cryptic Bumble Bee

Species occidentalis - Western Yellow-banded Bumble Bee

Species terricola - Yellowbanded Bumble Bee
       

Species crotchii - Bombus crotchii

Species fraternus - Southern Plains Bumble Bee
       
Species griseocollis - Brownbelted Bumble Bee
     
Species morrisoni - Bombus morrisoni

Species rufocinctus - Redbelted Bumble Bee
     

Species citrinus - Lemon Cuckoo Bumble Bee
     
Species fernaldae - Fernald Cuckoo Bumble Bee
       
Species insularis - Indiscriminate Cuckoo Bumble Bee
       
Species suckleyi - Suckleyi Bumblebee

Species variabilis - Variable Cuckoo Bumblebee


     
Species bimaculatus - Twospotted Bumble Bee
     
Species centralis - Bombus centralis

       
Species frigidus - Frigid Bumble Bee

Species huntii - Bombus huntii
     
Species impatiens - Common Eastern Bumble Bee
     
Species melanopygus - Bombus melanopygus
     
Species mixtus - Bombus mixtus
     
Species perplexus - Confusing Bumble Bee
     
Species sitkensis - Bombus sitkensis

Species sylvicola - Bombus sylvicola

Species ternarius - Tricolored Bumble Bee
     
Species vagans - Half-black Bumble Bee

Species vandykei - Bombus vandykei

Species vosnesenskii - Yellow-faced Bumble Bee


Species appositus - Bombus appositus

Species borealis - Boreal Bumble Bee
       

Species californicus - Bombus californicus

Species fervidus - Golden Northern Bumble Bee
     
Species pensylvanicus - American Bumble Bee
     
Species sonorus - Sonoran Bumble Bee
     
Pictorial guides to North American spp.(3), to IL spp.(4)
CA spp.:(5)
Range
Throughout N. Amer. - 43 spp. in the west (list), 24 in the east (list), and 18 in the south (list)(6)
also most of the world (incl. high Arctic), but present in Africa only north of the Sahara and not native to Australia although introduced to Tasmania (map)(2)
Habitat
Generally distributed but most abundant and diverse at humid, cool sites rich in flowers, such as mountain meadows.
Season
Mated, overwintered Queens emerge from their hibernacula in very early-late spring, depending on the species. Workers emerge in late spring-early summer after which they build in numbers, and persist until late summer-late fall depending on the species. Virgin queens and males appear in summer-fall, depending on the species, and visit flowers at that time along with foraging workers. At the end of the season workers and males die and mated queens enter their hibernacula where they remain dormant until spring. In warm areas such as southern California and south Florida bumble bees can be found flying even in mid-winter.
Remarks
Cameron et al. (2011) quantified dramatic range-wide population declines in B. occidentalis, B. pensylvanicus, B. affinis, and B. terricola that have occurred over the last few decades. (7)
See Also
bee-mimicking robber flies Laphria and Mallophora
Print References
Milliron, H. E. 1971. A monograph of Western Hemisphere bumblebees (Hymenoptera: Apidae; Bombinae) I. The genera Bombus and Megabombus subgenus Bombias. Memoirs of the Entomological Society of Canada 82: 1-80.
Milliron, H. E. 1973a. A monograph of Western Hemisphere bumblebees (Hymenoptera: Apidae; Bombinae) II. The genus Megabombus subgenus Megabombus. Memoirs of the Entomological Society of Canada 89: 81-237.
Milliron, H. E. 1973b. A monograph of Western Hemisphere bumblebees (Hymenoptera: Apidae; Bombinae) III. The genus Pyrobombus subgenus Cullumanobombus. Memoirs of the Entomological Society of Canada 91: 239-333.
Mitchell, T.B. 1962. Bees of the eastern United States, volume 2. North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station Technical Bulletin 152: 1-557.
Stephen, W. P. 1957. Bumble bees of western America. Oregon State College: Agricultural Experiment Station, Technical Bulletin 40. 163 pp.
Thorp, R. W., D. S. Horning Jr., and L. L. Dunning. 1983. Bumble bees and cuckoo bumble bees of California (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Bulletin of the California Insect Survey 23: 1-79.
Warriner, M.D. 2011. Bumblebees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) of remnant grasslands in Arkansas. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 84(1): 43-50.
Warriner, M.D. 2012. Bumble bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) of Texas: historical distributions. (8)
Williams, P.H. 1998. An annotated checklist of bumble bees with an analysis of patterns of description (Hymenoptera: Apidae, Bombini). Bulletin of The Natural History Museum (Entomology) 67: 79-152.
Williams, P.H., S.A. Cameron, H.M. Hines, B. Cederberg, and P. Rasmont. 2008. A simplified subgeneric classification of the bumblebees (genus Bombus). Apidologie 39 (1): 46-74.
Internet References
Flight of the bumblebee, by R.W. Husband
Bumble Bees of the Eastern United States is an indispensable new bumble bee identification resource for the Eastern United States. For the first time, melittologists (scientists who study bees) Colla, Richardson, and Williams provide an easy-to-use illustrated and engaging field guide to the most commonly encountered bumble bees. (10)
Bumble Bees of the Western United States, Jonathan Koch, James Strange, & Paul Williams, product of the US Forest Service and the Pollinator Partnership. (11)
Works Cited
1.Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide
Williams et al. 2014. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 208 pp.
2.Ascher J.S., Pickering J. (2017) Discover Life bee species guide and world checklist (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Anthophila)
3.Bumblebee.org
4.BeeSpotter
5.Bumble Bees and Cuckoo Bumble Bees of California
Robbin W. Thorp, Donald S. Horning, Jr., Lorry L. Dunning. 1983. University of California Press, Berkeley.
6.Bombus bumblebees of the world
7.Patterns of widespread decline in North American bumble bees.
Cameron et al. 2011. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 108: 662-667. .
8.Bumble bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) of Texas: historical distributions.
Warriner, M.D. 2012. Southwestern Naturalist 57(4): 442-445.
9.Bumble Bee Watch
10.Bumble Bees of the Eastern United States
Sheila Colla, Leif Richardson, Paul Williams. 2011. USDA.
11.Bumble Bees of the Western United States
Jonathan Koch, James Strange, and Paul Williams. U.S. Forest Service and the Pollinator Partnership.