Common Eastern Bumble Bee, Bombus impatiens
Excerpted from Bumble Bees of Wisconsin
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.
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.
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.
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.
Slo-Mo Footage of a Bumble Bee Dislodging Pollen
Look Inside a Bumblebee Nest
How to Build a Bumble Bee House
Development of Colony and Nest in the Bumblebee