Red-belted Bumble Bee, Bombus rufocinctus

Excerpted from Bumble Bees of Wisconsin

Red-belted Bumble Bee, Bombus rufocinctus A common, and incredibly diverse bee with respect to its color patterns. Over 30 different color morphs make this species a tough one to identify readily. However, several common color patterns exist and can be easily recognized.

  Physical Description

Hair medium and even. Thorax yellow, with black band between wings. Abdominal coloration extremely variable. Two primary color morphs exist, a light and dark. The light morph is pictured here. Abdominal color pattern is generally yellow-yellow-red-red-black-black from T1-T6. Dark morph color pattern has the same thoracic coloration, with the abdominal pattern being black-black-yellow-black-yellow-black from T1-T6. Queens and workers are generally a bit smaller than other common species. Males with similarly variable color patterns, but an obvious yellow beard on the middle of the face.

  Activity Period

Red-belted Bumble Bee activity period Long lived colonies. Largest densities possible during July as all three castes are present. Look for new queens in late July and early August.


Red-belted Bumble Bee, Bombus rufocinctus graphic The red-belted bumble bee can be seen throughout Wisconsin, but it is not as common as other species. Historical and contemporary records suggest that this species makes up < 10% of records.

  Preferred Flowers


Bumble Bee Videos

 Buzz Pollination
 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

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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.

Bee in flight.

How Do Bees Fly?

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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