Wisconsin Native Bumble Bees

Bumble bee pollinating a foxglove plant.

Bumble bees are important pollinators that usher in the start of spring and remind us of bright, warm summer days.

In recent years, several of the species that occur in Wisconsin and the Midwest have been in decline. A host of factors including loss of flowers, expanding agriculture, diseases and parasites, as well as altered weather patterns have all taken their toll on these essential insects.

This guide serves as a quick reference for all bumble bee species in Wisconsin. You can click on the species name on the left to learn more about each species including where it’s found, the common color morphs you are likely to see, as well as the flowers that are preferred forage.

There might actually be a useful purpose for having a favorite color — at least if you're a bumble bee. Bumblebees prefer violet-colored native flowers to other available blooms

Identity your Bumble Bee by matching it to one of the Bumble Bee species pictures below.

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Take The Bumble Bee Quiz

Take this quick quiz and see how much you know about Bumble Bees. This quiz is intended for fun, in a random-facts-can-be-cool kind of way.

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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