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.

Range

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

 Thistle
 Goldenrod
 Clover

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.

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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.

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