Black and Gold Bumble Bee, Bombus auricomus

Excerpted from Bumble Bees of Wisconsin

Black and Gold Bumble Bee, Bombus auricomus One of our largest bumble bee species. Flying by your head, they’ll sound like a helicopter.

Physical Description

Very large bodied bees, both workers and queens. Body hair short length and even. Thorax is black for the anterior (front) third, and then mostly black on the posterior (back) with some yellow hairs occasionally intermixed. First abdominal segment mostly black, with segments two and three yellow. Black tail. Males with an entirely yellow first abdominal segment and conspicuous yellow hairs on the face. Males also lack corbiculae.

Activity Period

Black and Gold Bumble Bee activity period Queens remain active throughout the season, while workers and males only around in the late part of the season in July and August.


Black and Gold Bumble Bee, Bombus auricomus graphic Historical data suggest mostly a southern distribution for this species, however they seem to be doing well in most agricultural areas and may be expanding their range northward in accordance with a changing climate.

Preferred Flowers

 Bee Balm

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

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 Quiz Logo

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.

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar

Caterpillar ID Guide

Identify who is nibbling on your native plants. You will find over 30 Wisconsin native butterfly caterpillars.