Currently viewing the category: "Bumble Bees"
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

Brown Belted 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!

Update:  December 12, 2019
We just received a comment from Chris Smith that this is actually “a male
Bombus griseocollis” a Brown Belted Bumble Bee.  Here is a link to BugGuide where it states:  “Diagnostic characters include black wings, black head, low position of ocelli, short dense hairs on thorax, and belt of contrasting brown hairs at base of T2. Males have large eyes. See detailed description of queen and male at discoverlife.org  Tongue length: medium.”

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

Subject: Huge Yellow Bumble Bee
Location: Gilbert AZ
December 14, 2016 7:56 am
I think this might be a Northern Bumble bee, but am not sure, it is huge, at least one inch long , please let me know if I am correct , I have found this bee in Gilbert AZ
Signature: Frances

Bumble Bee

Bumble Bee

Dear Frances,
Our money is on this being a Sonoran Bumble Bee,
Bombus sonorus, which is pictured on BugGuide.

Thank you so much ! Daniel !  I like to know what I have photographed , and that was a quick reply !  Frances

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Busy milkweeds
Location: Columbus, Ohio
July 12, 2016 1:04 pm
So the milkweeds seem to be the water cooler of the insect world. We have monarchs, Japanese beetles, tons of bees (honey and bumbles), and these red mating things! Their flowers are a pretty color and they really have a pleasant and strong scent. I’m rather surprised that these weren’t grown on purpose before the whole monarch decline. Any way, were enjoying the show and hope to get a caterpillar or two.
Signature: Amber

Mating Large Milkweed Bugs

Mating Large Milkweed Bugs

Dear Amber,
There is indeed quite a robust ecosystem surrounding milkweed, which is one of the reasons we created a Milkweed Meadow tag on our site recently.  Monarch Butterflies need milkweed as it is the only food consumed by the Monarch Caterpillars.  Milkweed Borers and Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillars are other visitors you might expect in the future.  Your mating Large Milkweed Bugs are another species that depends upon milkweed.  Many pollinators like your Bumble Bees, numerous species of butterflies and many wasps including Tarantula Hawks (mostly in western states), while not dependent upon milkweed as a sole food, are attracted to the fragrant blooms that are laden with nectar.  We will attempt to identify your Bumble Bee species.  

Bumble Bees

Bumble Bees

Bumble Bee

Bumble Bee

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination