North American Bumblebees, 6, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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 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. Common. Favourite flowers include, thistles, Asters, Phacelia, Penstemon, Alliums, bergamot, lupins, clovers.
Has a medium to long tongue. Body lengths in mm queen 16 - 18, worker 10 - 13, male 12 - 14. Queens are seen from mid March, workers from April, and males from July. Nests underground, and can produce hundreds of workers..

Bombus mixtus, Fuzzy-horned bumblebee

Bombus mixtus

Range: Alaska south to California, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, in mountains, tundra and taiga, in open and shrubby areas. Common. Favourite flowers include currants, clovers, lupins, ragwort, goldernrod, dandelion, and Epilobium. Medium tongue length. Body lengths in mm, queen 15 - 17, worker 10 - 14, male 11 - 14. Queens are seen from March, workers from April and males from May. Hair length is medium and uneven. 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 - 12mm. Nests underground. Also found in northern Europe.

*Images taken from the excellent book Bumblebees, published by Pelagic Publishing.
**Images taken from the wonderful