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

Subject: Mating bees
Location: mason City, Ia
August 14, 2012 8:49 pm
Had to share a couple pictures of these bees that I almost stepped on in my backyard. Since they were not moving I went in to get my camera and captured the following pictures. Picture 1 is of the 2 bees in the grass(please note that we are going through a drought right now)picture 2 was taken after the 2 flew around the yard and landed on a bush. This is something I had never seen before and was glad to capture it.
Signature: Amber Olsen

Mating Bumble Bees

Hi Amber,
Thanks for sending your wonderful photos of mating Bumble Bees.  We wish we could determine the species.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide that information.

Mating Bumble Bees


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Yellow Faced Bumble Bee???
Location: Agate Beach Oregon coast
August 9, 2012 2:33 pm
I found this guy on my first trip to the Pacific coast. I was looking for seashells in the tide when I saw what I thought was a beetle at first moving extremely slow. I used a tiny piece of driftwood to pick him up. He proceded to crawl up my arm and groom himself. I was attempting to get a closer look at him in my hand when he climbed onto my nose. He walked up my face and nested in my hair and dried himself for a least 45 minutes while we continued to look for shells on the beach. As we left the beach I removed him from my hair and placed him in a beautiful flower bush where he finally fluttered his wings. He actually looked more fuzzy like a bee by the time he was placed in the flowers. (My phone battery had died at that point so I didn’t get another picture)
I hope he went on to live a happy bee life.
He looks similar to the other Yellow Faced Bumble Bees on your site but I’m only guessing. Could he have stung me?
I love your site it has helped me identify many bugs and spiders.
Thank you
Signature: Anna

Yellow Faced Bumble Bee rescued from surf.

Hi Anna,
It is difficult to be be certain since salt water has altered its appearance, but we agree that this is most likely a Yellow Faced Bumble Bee,
Bombus vosnesenskii.  Though Bumble Bees are not aggressive, they are capable of stinging.  Because of your kind deed, we are tagging this posting with the Bug Humanitarian AwardBugGuide has some nice images of Yellow Faced Bumble Bees under more typical circumstances.

Yellow Faced Bumble Bee dries out.

I just wanted to thank you for your quick response and the bug humanitarian award. 🙂 it made my day. I’m glad my little bee friend played nicely and didn’t sting me in the face. I have more pictures of myself with a bee on my face than I do of the actual coast. I got so focused on him I forgot to take other pictures.
Thanks again


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: European Bumblebee
Location: Belgrade, Serbia
May 23, 2012 3:26 pm
Dear Bugman,
I am trying to distinguish this bee: Is it a white-tailed bumblebee or a buff-tailed bumblebee? I photographed it in my driveway last weekend in Belgrade, Serbia.
Thank you!
Signature: Bill Kralovec

Bumble Bee from Serbia

Dear Bill,
Thanks for sending in your request. indicates:  “The queens Bombus terrestris and B. lucorum are usually the first to emerge in the spring. B. terrestris queens are the largest bumblebees we have in the UK. It is fairly easy to differentiate between B. terrestris and B. lucorum queens –  the yellow thorax hairs of terrestris are more dull orangey while those of lucorum are more lemony [.]  B. terrestris has a brownish orange tip to her abdomen while B. lucorum’s is white – hence the common names.” also indicates:  “The workers of both species look like smaller versions of the lucorum queen. See the worker on the left. They are almost impossible to tell apart without dissection. The size range can vary quite a lot, but usually the smaller workers are from the earliest laid eggs. Bombus lucorum workers range from 0.04 – 0.32 g and the queens from 0.46 – 0.70 g; B. terrestris workers range from 0.05 g – 0.40 g.”  Our guess is that this is a queen White-Tailed Bumble Bee.  We are basing that on the information provided on the website we cited.  The early emergence and large size would indicate the bee is a queen.  Though many internet references use a single word Bumblebee, we are following the naming convention used on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Sonoran Bumble?
Location: Hawthorne, CA
October 1, 2011 2:02 pm
We have a lot of bumble bees in the yard this time of year. This particular bee looks like a Sonoran, but it’s stripes aren’t as yellow as others. Is it a Sonoran or some other type of bumble bee. Is it maybe a female Sonoran?
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Sonoran Bumble Bee

Hi Anna,
Though the photo you sent us in July shows the distinguishing thin black band across the thorax more distinctly than these current photos, we agree that this is a Sonoran Bumble Bee,
Bombus sonorus.  The pale coloration might be an individual variation, or this might be an older and more faded bee.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Location:  Elyria Canyon State Park, Mt Washington, Los Angeles, California
August 13, 2011
WE keep returning to the Milkweed Meadow to document the progress there, and the Monarch Caterpillars have both vanished.  The Bumble Bee is usually there during the time the sun strikes the blooms, but we are still not certain if this is Crotch’s Bumble Bee or the California Bumble Bee.

Which Bumble Bee is it???

  We also noticed numerous tiny beetles on the milkweed blossoms.

Bumble Bee and Soft Winged Flower Beetles on Milkweed

Alas, the old model digital camera we are using does not have a macro setting that will allow us to get closer.  We would like to identify these beetles.  After the fact, we had a terrible thought that they might be the Walnut Twig Beetles that are spreading the 1000 Cankers Diseaseto black walnuts in the western states.  This matter will take additional research.  Many beetles with wood boring larvae feed on pollen as adults.  We should return tomorrow morning and collect a few specimens to take to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Soft Winged Flower Beetles on Milkweed blossoms

These is about the largest closeups that we can make.

Soft Winged Flower Beetles on Milkweed

Soft Winged Flower Beetles on Milkweed

Soft Winged Flower Beetles on Milkweed

Eric Eaton to the Rescue, Again
These are pretty easy to subfamily level.  They are soft-winged flower beetles in the family Melyridae, subfamily Dasytinae.  After that it gets really messy, really fast!  Nobody wants to try to ID them even to genus…..



What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination