Bumble Bees

Bumble Bees – Bombus

There are nearly 50 species of native bumble bees in North America. Bumble bees are a social species, with one egg laying female; she raises a colony that is active for one season. During early spring, if you see a bumble bee while the apple is in bloom, it is most likely the overwintering queen preparing to establish a colony.   She is larger than the workers that will populate a colony consisting of 50 to 200 worker bees.

Bombus impatiens – Common Eastern Bumble Bee

Common Eastern Bumble (Bombus impatiens) Bee Buzz Pollinating on Tomato Plant

Bombus grisceolis – Brown Belted Bumble Bee

The brown belted bumble bee (Bombus grisceolis) is commonly seen in the Hudson Valley.  This one enjoys the purple coneflower.

Bombus perplexus – Confusing Bumble Bee

The Confusing Bumble Bee (Bombus perplexus) flying in for a landing at Milkweed.  This bee is a fairly common sight in early summer in the Hudson Valley.

Bombus ternarius – Tri-Colored Bumble Bee

The tri-colored Bumble Bee (Bombus ternarius) is a commonly seen in the Catskills and Adirondacks. This one was seen pollinating goldenrod at the base of Lyon Mountain.

 

Rare Bumble Bees in New York State

Bombus borealis – Northern Amber Bumble Bee

This northern amber bumble bee (Bombus borealis) an uncommon species is seen visiting a turtlehead flower in the Au Sable River Valley in the Eastern Adirondacks. Observed in 2017, 2018, 2020.

 

Conservation Status: 

New York S1: Critically Imperiled in New York – Especially vulnerable to disappearing from New York due to extreme rarity or other factors; typically 5 or fewer populations or locations in New York, very few individuals, very restricted range, very few remaining acres (or miles of stream), and/or very steep declines.

Global Conservation Rank G4G5:  Apparently or Demonstrably Secure globally – Uncommon to common in the world, but not rare; usually widespread, but may be rare in some parts of its range; possibly some cause for long-term concern due to declines or other factors. More information is needed to assign either G4 or G5.

Bombus terricola – Yellow Banded Bumble Bee

This yellow banded bumble bee (Bombus terricola) is seen visiting Joe Pye weed growing on an abandoned beaver dam near the West Branch of the Au Sable River in the Adirondacks.  Observed in 2013, 2014, 2017, 2020

 

Conservation Status: 

New York S1: Critically Imperiled in New York – Especially vulnerable to disappearing from New York due to extreme rarity or other factors; typically 5 or fewer populations or locations in New York, very few individuals, very restricted range, very few remaining acres (or miles of stream), and/or very steep declines.
 
Global Conservation Rank G3G4: Vulnerable globally, or Apparently Secure – At moderate risk of extinction, with relatively few populations or locations in the world, few individuals, and/or restricted range; or uncommon but not rare globally; may be rare in some parts of its range; possibly some cause for long-term concern due to declines or other factors. More information is needed to assign either G3 or G4.
 

Bombus fervidus – Golden (Yellow) Bumble Bee

The Yellow Bumble Bee (Bombus fervidus) found near Andes, NY October 2020

 

Conservation Status: 

New York S1: Critically Imperiled in New York – Especially vulnerable to disappearing from New York due to extreme rarity or other factors; typically 5 or fewer populations or locations in New York, very few individuals, very restricted range, very few remaining acres (or miles of stream), and/or very steep declines.
 
Global Conservation Rank G3G4: Vulnerable globally, or Apparently Secure – At moderate risk of extinction, with relatively few populations or locations in the world, few individuals, and/or restricted range; or uncommon but not rare globally; may be rare in some parts of its range; possibly some cause for long-term concern due to declines or other factors. More information is needed to assign either G3 or G4.
 

More about Bumble Bees at the links below:

Bumblebees of the Adirondacks 

Bumble Bees Suffer from Climate Change

The Queen Bee and the Dutchman’s Breeches

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