Order and Family:
Apidae, Apid Bees
7/8″ (2 cm). Large, furry bee, banded with black and yellow; thorax and segments 1-3 of abdomen yellow; black behind wings. Wings smoky. Queens larger than workers.
March to frost.
Hibernating queens appear in spring and establish underground colonies; workers, who are all sterile females, forage and tend larvae and pupae. Late in season, males and young queens, emerge, leave nest, and mate. Males, old queens, and workers die; new queens overwinter and repeat cycle.
Meadows, weedy fields, woodlands, open areas, gardens.
Throughout United States and southern Canada.
Bumblebees are peaceful and efficient gatherers of pollen, much too busy to bother anybody unless their nests are disturbed. Most of the bumblebees we see are workers, but in early spring and late summer you can find larger ones at flowers; these are fertile queens, the only ones that survive the winter to start new colonies.
WARNING: This bee stings but is not aggressive.