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

Subject:  Don’t think it’s Bombus vosnesenskii, so which bumbler is it?
Geographic location of the bug:  Silverdale, WA
Date: 07/12/2018
Time: 12:20 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I originally thought this was Bombus vosnesenskii (Yellow-Faced bumble bee), but all photos representing that particular species shows only one  yellow segment on the abdomen, whereas the one I took the photograph of, shows two.
I tried researching by location and bee color/appearance on discoverlife.org‘s bee identification, but none seem to match. Based upon the appearance of pollen baskets and sparse hairs on the hind legs, I am pretty sure it’s a true bumble been (not a Cuckoo) and a female.
If you are able to help, I’d love your assistance!
Thanks in advance!
How you want your letter signed:  Bug aficionado

Yellow Faced Bumble Bee

Dear Bug Aficionado,
When we first looked at your images, we too began trying to match to BugGuide images of a Bumble Bee with a yellow face as well as two abdominal stripes, but upon reviewing your images, we believe the second yellow band we thought we observed on one of your images is an optical illusion, part of the clover blossom rather than the Bee.  None of your images clearly shows a second yellow band.  Perhaps you have additional images that show the markings on the abdomen.  Since we cannot clearly see a second band, we are going to call this a Yellow Faced Bumble Bee as the yellow face as well as other markings, including the half black thorax, agree with that species.  Also, the Yellow Faced Bumble Bee pictured on Hilltromper does appear to show a second abdominal stripe.  The Arboretum Foundation page entitled Getting to Know Our Northwest Bees identifies four species including the Yellow Faced Bumble Bee.

Yellow Faced Bumble Bee

I think you are right about the optical illusion! I zoomed in on the photo, and, sure enough, what I thought was a second yellow abdominal segment is actually one of the clover head’s flowers!
Thanks so much for your help! Trying to ID this fuzzy-butt was driving me bonkers!
Also, thank you for correcting the ID of my blue butterfly from Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) to Pacific Azure (Celastrina echo). They both look very much alike, and despite butterfliesandmoths.org having a verified sighting of C. ladon in Oregon (which is what led me to my ID- I simply didn’t research enough), it is quite likely that they, too, mis-identified the specimen.
-Bug aficionado

Yellow Faced Bumble Bee

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Bombus ternarius
Geographic location of the bug:  North-West BC, Canada
Date: 06/11/2018
Time: 03:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Looks like a Bombus ternarius to me, but I’m new to bumble bees.
How you want your letter signed:  Shawn C

Tri-Colored Bumble Bee

Dear Shawn,
Based on this BugGuide image, we are in agreement that this is a Tri-Colored Bumble Bee,
Bombus ternarius.  According to BugGuide:  “First abdominal segment with yellow hair, segments 2 & 3 reddish-orange, segments 5 and 6 and facial hairs black.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Funny looking bee and Orb Weaver
Geographic location of the bug:  Bee from South Weber, Utah. Orb Weaver from Sardine Canyon, Utah
Date: 05/14/2018
Time: 02:27 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I have no idea what these two are, besides being a bee and an orb weaver spider (it had an orb web).
Please help me identify these. Feel free to use the photos as you wish.
How you want your letter signed:  William Swedin

Hunt’s Bumble Bee, we believe

Dear William,
There are several species of Bumble Bees with red markings.  The closest visual match we were able to find is this Hunt’s Bumble Bee,
Bombus huntii, pictured on BugGuide.  Please confine your identification requests to a single species unless there is a good reason to include more than one species, like a Food Chain image.

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