North American Bumblebees, 4, 1, 2, 3

Related pages N. American cuckoo bumblebees - Is it a bumblebee? - Looks like a bumblebee - Other bees1, 2

I have quoted the tongue lengths as this can determine which flowers the bumblebee will gather nectar from, for more see the tongue page. I have also quoted body lengths. This information comes from a number sources, and really should be used as a rough guide. Early workers can be much smaller than later workers, also the methods used for measuring vary - some sources use dead bees and others live bees.

Bombus borealis

Bombus borealis

Range: Southern Canada from Nova Scotia to Alberta, Northern USA from Maine to New Jersey west to North Dakota and South Dakota. Found in and around woodlands.
Long-tongued species, hair length medium and even. Body lengths in mm, queen 18 - 22, worker 13 - 15, male 14 - 16.
Nests underground. Males gather outside the nest entrance to await the emergence of young queens for mating.

Bombus fervidus fervidus

Bombus fervidus fervidus Bombus fervidus female**

Range: Quebec and New Brunswick, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, south to Georgia, west to British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California and Mexico. Found in grassland, farm land parks and gardens. Usually nests above ground, but occasionally underground. Males gather around the nest entrance waiting for the emergence of young queens for mating. Can be aggressive. The photograph above shows considerable wing wear.
Long tongued species, hair length is medium and even. Body lengths in mm queen 18 - 21, worker 11 - 17, male 13 - 16.

Bombus appositus, White-shouldered bumblebee

Bombus appositus

Range: British Columbia east to Saskatchewan, south to New Mexico, Wyoming, Arizona and California. It is found in open meadows.
This bumblebee has a long tongue, and its hair is medium length and even. Body lengths in mm, queen 20 - 24, worker 11 - 18, male 10 - 16. Males gather around the nest entrance to mate with newly emerged queens. It nests underground.

Bombus sylvicola

Bombus sylvicola

Range: Alaska east to Newfoundland, south through the mountains (Cascades, Sierra Nevada, Rockies), California, Utah, New Mexico. In open grassy areas in high forest, tundra or taiga at 2400 - 4000 m.
Medium tongue length. Hair is long and uneven. Body length in millimetres, queen 15 - 17, worker 10 - 14, male 11 - 14. Mostly nests underground, but can nest on the surface.

Bombus huntii

Bombus huntii Bombus huntii male**

Range: British Columbia, Alberta south to California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico. Found in high desert scrub land.
Medium tongue length. Hair short and even. Body lengths in mm. queen, 19 - 20, worker 11 - 14, male 9 - 13. Nests underground. Note the jagged edge to the wings which is a sign of wing wear, and probably age.

Bombus flavifrons dimidiatus and Bombus flavifrons flavifrons

Bombus flavifrons dimidiatusBombus flavifrons dimidiatus Bombus flavifrons flavifrons

Range: Southern British Columbia to California. Found from sea level up to 2700 m, in open grassy prairies, mountain meadows, and northern forests.
The queen and workers have a long tongue. The hair length is medium and uneven. Body lengths in mm, queen 16 - 18, worker 10 - 13, male 10 - 14.
Nests mainly underground, but there are reports of surface nests.

Bombus sitkensis

Bombus sitkensis

Range: Alaska south to California, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming. On open grassy prairies and mountain meadows.
Body lengths in mm, queen 15 - 20, worker 9 - 14, male 9 - 14. The hair is long, shaggy and uneven. Nests underground.

Bombus centralis

Bombus centralis

Range: British Columbia, Alberta south to California, Arizona, New Mexico. Ranges from sea level up to 3500 metres or more on open grassy areas and mountain meadows.
Has a medium to long tongue. Body lengths in mm queen 16 - 18, worker 10 - 13, male 12 - 14. The hair is short and even. Nests underground.

Bombus mixtus

Bombus mixtus

Range: Alaska south to California, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, in mountains, tundra and taiga, in open and shrubby areas. Medium tongue length. Body lengths in mm, queen 15 - 17, worker 10 - 14, male 11 - 14. Nests above, below and on the ground surface.

Bombus distinguendus

Bombus distinuendus

Range: this northern European species has recently (2002) been recorded in Alaska. It is found in tundra where it nests underground.
It has a long tongue, hair is medium length and even. Body lengths in mm, queen 19, worker 12. Males gather around the nest entrance waiting to mate with newly emerging queens.

Bombus jonellus

Bombus jonellus

Range: westwards from the southern shores of Hudson Bay to Alaska. Found in tundra and taiga. Medium length tongue, hair long. Body lengths, queen 16, worker 10 - 11, male 10 - 12 mm. Nests underground. Also found in northern Europe.

*Images taken from the excellent book Bumblebees, published by Pelagic Publishing.
**Images taken from the wonderful https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/albums