Tricolored Bumble Bee
Location: Mancos, CO (Southwestern Colorado)
May 4, 2012 4:11 pm
I have the great fortune of having an apple tree in full bloom here at my home. There are many species of bees buzzing about, but this one especially caught my eye. I thought that I would submit my picture of what I think is a tricolored bumble bee to you.
Signature: Jessica of Mancos, CO

Bumble Bee

Hi Jessica,
Thanks for sending us your beautiful photograph.  While the coloration on this Bumble Bee resembles that of the TriColored Bumble Bee,
Bombus ternarius, we have our doubts that the identification is correct.  You are not in the range that is documented on BugGuide, and BugGuide also states that the range is:  “Yukon to Nova Scotia, south to Georgia; widespread in the United States but rarely observed south of Pennsylvania.”  There are other similarly colored Bumble Bees, including Hunt’s Bumble Bee, Bombus huntii, which is documented from Colorado.  According to BugGuide, it has:  “Yellow hairs on face.”  Sadly, your photograph does not show the face.  Bombus sylvicola is also documented in Colorado according to BugGuide.  We also could not rule out the Red-Belted Bumble Bee, Bombus rufocinctus, which is also pictured on BugGuide.

After further investigation, it seems that my initial identification was incorrect.  It is indeed a Hunt’s Bumble Bee – I went back through the photos I had taken of (him? her?) and found a picture that shows a fuzzy ridge of yellow hairs on the crown of its head.  Thank you for your response, and please see the photo attached showing the facial hairs.

Hunt's Bumble Bee

Hi Jessica,
Thank you for the follow-up and additional photo.

Location: Colorado

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