Currently viewing the category: "Bumble Bees"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Wazzat bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Snohomish, WA
Date: 09/04/2017
Time: 04:25 PM EDT
OK, bug guys (&gals!) – whaddizzit?
This bug was crawling around my garage today. At the tender age of 62, I thought I’d seen most of the common creepy-crawlers/flyers. Looks like a type of beetle, but image search and on-line research has not helped. Lemme know if I have discovered something that was thought to be extinct, and hasn’t been known to fly/crawl them thar parts for millions of years. I’m guessing that’s most probably the case. Surely it is related to some rare dinosaur. Make my day – tell me I’m right! But wait – I let it go free. OH, NO!
How you want your letter signed:  Sandi Ellenwood

Yellow Faced Bumble Bee

Dear Sandi,
This is a Bumble Bee, and according to A Field Guide to Common Puget Sound Native Bees, it appears to be a Yellow Faced Bumble Bee,
Bombus vosnesenskii.  The Arboretum Foundation has a Getting to know our native northwest bees page that also mentions and pictures the Yellow Faced Bumble Bee.  According to BugGuide:  “The most abundant and widespread species in cismontane California and generally numerous across the Pacific States at lower elevations.”  We are surprised that your letter indicates you take an interest in “creepy-crawlers” but that you did not recognize a Bumble Bee.  We are well aware of decreasing populations of both native and domestic Bees, probably due to the wide use of pesticides, which might explain why you have never seen a Bumble Bee in 62 years, but at least they are not yet extinct.

Yellow Faced Bumble Bee

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Flight of the Bumble Bee
Location: Coryell County, Texas
August 13, 2017 12:46 pm
I was pretty excited to see a bumble bee for the first time since we moved here and began planting gardens in 1999. I’ve seen one twice, alone both times. I wish the photos were clearer, but both times I saw the bee, it flew straight at my face, then up and away. I’ll keep my distance now, I do believe. 😀 Beautiful creature, though.
Photos August 8, 2017. Hot and humid, partly cloudy.
I’m not sure what kind of bumble bee it is as the differences are too subtle for me to tell. I did find this reference from Texas Parks & Wildlife: https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/wildlife_diversity/nongame/native-pollinators/bumblebee-id.phtml
The bee was visiting the autumn sage (Salvia greggii), and is such a heavy insect that the blossoms sometimes fell to the ground.
Signature: Ellen

American Bumble Bee

Hi Ellen,
We always love getting images from you, and it is distressing that this is the first Bumble Bee you have seen in your garden in 18 years.  We believe, based on the nice graphics on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Bumble Bee Identification page that it is the American Bumble Bee.  According to BugGuide:  “Has declined severely at the northern margin of its range, where now absent from or at best very rare at many historical localities, but still routinely found in its core range to the south as evidenced by the many Bugguide images. considered by Louisiana and Texas to be a “Species of Greatest Conservation Need” (SGCN).”

American Bumble Bee

Thank you so much for the identification! I’ll plant more Autumn Sage around the perimeter of the yard in September as it’s so favored by the Bumble Bee and other insect pollinators and hummingbirds. Best wishes to you both!

American Bumble Bee

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is this a Bombus affinis?
Location: Massachusetts USA
August 11, 2017 7:18 am
Is this bumblebee feeding on a milkweed plant in Massachusetts a Bombus affinis?
Thankyou!!
Rob S
Signature: Rob

Possibly Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee

Dear Rob,
This does indeed look like a Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee, a species represented on BugGuide with sightings in the midwest, though BugGuide does state:  “MN to IN, plus a few remaining sites on east coast, see map per Xerces Society. Formerly Upper Midwest and Eastern North America: Ontario to New Brunswick, south to North Carolina. Historically known from more than 25 states.”  BugGuide also provides this sobering information:  “Declines of this species were first noted by John S. Ascher at Ithaca, New York, ca. 2001 when populations that were conspicuous in the late 1990s could not be located. At this and many other localities across its historic range affinis is no longer detected, but it has been shown to persist locally in the midwest and in New England.  Abrupt and severe declines of this and other bumble bee species in this subgenus were widely reported soon after development of the commercial bumble bee industry and detection of high rates of parasitism in managed colonies.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced (Sept. 21, 2016) that it is proposing to list the rusty patched bumble bee as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.”  According to the Xerces Society:  “The rusty patched bumble bee is a species of bumble bee native to eastern North America. Its’ workers and males have a small rust-colored patch on the middle of their second abdominal segment. This bee was once commonly distributed throughout the east and upper Midwest of the United States, but has declined from an estimated 87% of its historic range in recent years. The rusty-patched bumble bee was once an excellent pollinator of wildflowers, cranberries, and other important crops, including plum, apple, alfalfa and onion seed.  Responding to a petition filed by the Xerces Society in 2013 to list the rusty patched bumble bee as an endangered species under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) finalized the ruling and gave the rusty patched bumble bee endangered status under the ESA in January of 2017.”  If your identification and our confirmation are correct, you might want to report your significant Massachusetts sighting to the Bumble Bee Watch as recommended by the Xerces Society Citizen Science program.

Thank you very much Daniel!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bombus with long abdomen
Location: Wilmington NC
July 25, 2017 6:39 pm
7/23/2017 – Saw 5 of these on Cup Plant (silphium sp.) All had very extended abdomens. A friend on Facebook pollinator group suggested it may be Bombus Fraternus. If so, this is good news as I believe they are in a threatened status. Thanx in advance for your expert assistance.
Signature: Dave Hobbs

Southern Plains Bumble Bee

Dear Dave,
These images do indeed look like a Southern Plains Bumble Bee when compared to this BugGuide image, also taken in North Carolina.  According to BugGuide:  “Has disappeared from the northern margins of its range, with few or no records from the northernmost states where recorded historically, but still regularly encountered in its core range on the southern Great Plains, and still found in the Southeastern United States.”  This species, as you indicated, is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List.  Congratulations on your awesome sighting and thanks so much for sending in your images with the identification.

Southern Plains Bumble Bee

Thank you for your response. Your staff is amazing.

Southern Plains Bumble Bee

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: cannot even decide what family…
Location: prairie 5 miles from foothills, Longmont CO
July 5, 2017 9:44 am
This large (3/4 inch) insect began flying into our garage regularly in June, emitting such an awful buzz that it sounded very like a UAS (drone). It came every day, circled around until it found its favorite niche (dark corner under steps to house proper) and then went quiet for a while. We thought it might be laying eggs. Not sure how to feel about that! We live in the country near Longmont CO. Any clues?
Signature: Linda

Brown-Belted Bumble Bee

Dear Linda,
This is a beneficial, native Bumble Bee, and of all the species pictured on the Color Guide to Colorado Bees on the Applewood Seed website, we believe it most resembles the Brown-Belted Bumble Bee,
Bombus griseocollis.  According to BugGuide:  “After B. impatiens often the second most commonly encountered bumble bee at many sites in the eastern United States. However, it becomes relatively scarce northwards, as at Ithaca.”   There are some very nice images on Discover Life

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Furry large fly?
Location: Washington state
May 18, 2017 6:34 pm
This bug circles people really fast, especially hiking in Seattle area, spring through summer. No interest in dog or horse. Hasn’t tried to bite me just circles like crazy. Really loud buzzing, size of a nickel. Sometimes the body is yellow instead of orange. Super fuzzy body. What attracts it, seems like scented deodorants? Hair shampoo? I just want it to let me be.
Signature: Make it stop!

Bumble Bee Carnage

Dear Make it stop!,
We cannot, but you obviously did.  This appears to be a beneficial native Bumble Bee, perhaps the Hunt’s Bumble Bee that is pictured on BugGuide, and it appears to be very dead.  By your own admission, it does not bother dogs nor horses, and it seems the worst thing you can accuse it of is of buzzing really loud and flying in circles.  We have no choice but to tag this as Unnecessary Carnage and we would strongly urge you to refrain from hiking if you can’t deal with the wildlife.

Facebook Comment from Cindy
This might very well be a troll. Even if it isn’t, yes that’s a horrible thing to do. Poor Bee. 🙁

Facebook Comment from Heather
What kind of a**hole kills a bumblebee?

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination