Common Eastern Bumble Bee, Bombus impatiens

Excerpted from Bumble Bees of Wisconsin

Common Eastern Bumble Bee, Bombus impatiens The most common bumble bee found in Wisconsin, as well as the easiest to identify! This species has bee found to be stable, or perhaps even increasing in abundance. One of the earliest species to emerge in the spring.

  Physical Description

Body hair medium length and even. Thorax mostly yellow, with a circular patch of black hairs between the base of wings. First abdominal segment fully yellow, with all remaining segments black. Queens distinctly larger than workers. Males always with yellow patch of hair in middle of face, forming a “beard” or “mustache” feature. Males also lack corbiculae, or the flattened midleg of the hind leg used for transporting pollen.

  Activity Period

Commen Eastern Bumble Bee activity period Bombus impatiens has the longest-lived colonies of any of Wisconsin’s bumble bees. Queens begin foraging early, emerging shortly after B. bimaculatus in late April or early May. Workers can be found from May-October, with new queens and drones observed from July-October.


Common Eastern Bumble Bee, Bombus impatiens graphic In addition to being active throughout the growing season, Bombus impatiens is also found throughout the state of Wisconsin. Typically, this species is associated with the agricultural landscapes of the central and southern portions of the state, but it can be found farther north, as well.

  Preferred Flowers


Bumble Bee Videos

 Buzz Pollination
 Slo-Mo Footage of a Bumble Bee Dislodging Pollen
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 Development of Colony and Nest in the Bumblebee

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Bumble Bee Buzz Pollination

Bumble Bee Buzz Pollination

Only Bumble Bees do it! Buzz pollinated flowers wait until a bee comes along and vibrates at just the right frequency and out comes the pollen in a spew.

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Have you ever wondered how bees fly and why there is all that buzzing? Buzzing is the sound of a bee’s beating wings. Within the bee thorax are two complete systems for moving wings.

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