Bumble Bees of Michigan

The following guides outline various species of bumble bees first by sex then abdomen color, range, and conservation status. Select one of the links below to help identify a specific bumble bee or download and print the Bumble Bees of Michigan – Females guide (PDF, 2 MB).

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Guide for Females

Yellow-Banded Abdomen

Bombus auricomus

Black-and-gold Bumble Bee

an illustration of bombus auricomus with three small eyes lower on the face and yellow on rear sides of thorax as well as top of head.

Range: Southern Michigan

Conservation Status: 3 Conservation Concern

Bombus pensylvanicus

American bumble bee

Range: Southern Michigan

Conservation Status: 3 Conservation Concern

Bombus terricola

Yellow banded bumble bee

Range: Northern Michigan

Conservation Status: 3 Conservation Concern

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Mostly Black Abdomen

Bombus bimcaulatus

Two-spotted Bumble Bee

illustration of the two-spotted bumble bee, Bombus bimaculatus. Face black and top of head yellow. Thorax yellow with a black spot. Abdominal T1 yellow, T2 usually yellow with a yellow “W" in the middle surrounded by black, T3 to T6 black.

Range: All Michigan

Conservation Status: 1 Common

Bombus citrinus

Lemon Cuckoo Bumble Bee

illustration of the lemon cuckoo bumble bee, Bombus citrinus. Face intermixed or mostly black and vertex yellow. Thorax mostly yellow with a black spot occasionally. Abdomen shiny, color patterns varied with abdominal T1 and T2 black or intermixed and T4 to T6 black.

Range: Southern Michigan

Conservation Status: 3 Conservation Concern

Bombus impatiens

Mostly Yellow Abdomen

illustration of the common eastern bumble bee, Bombus impatiens. Face black and top of head yellow. Thorax yellow with faded black spot/patch. Abdominal T1 yellow, and T2 to T6 black. Very rarely some morphs have some yellow in the front near the center of T2.

Range: All Michigan

Conservation Status: 1 Common

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Mostly Yellow Abdomen

Bombus affinis (queen)

Rusty-patched bumble bee

illustration of a rusty-patched bumble bee queen, Bombus affinis. Face and top of head black. Thorax mostly yellow with a black spot or band between the wingpads often triangular-shaped pointed away from the head. Abdominal T1 and T2 completely yellow; no brown or rusty patch on T2; T3 to T6 black.

Range: Southern Michigan

Conservation Status: 4 Federally Endangered

Bombus borealis

Northern Amber Bumble Bee

illustration of the northern amber bumble bee, Bombus borealis. Face and top of head mostly yellow. Thorax with black band between the wingpads and on the lower sides. Abdominal T1 to T4 yellow, T5 usually mostly black and T6 black; sometimes has intermixed black on the sides on T2 to T4 and fringe of yellow on T5 and T6.

Range: Southern Michigan

Conservation Status: 3 Conservation Concern

Bombus fervidus

Yellow bumble bee

illustration of the yellow bumble bee, Bombus fervidus. Black on top and front of head. Thorax yellow with black band between wings. Abdominal T1 to T4 yellow, T5 and T6 black.

Range: Southern Michigan

Conservation Status: 2 Uncommon

Bombus perplexus

Confusing Bumble Bee

illustration of the confusing bumble bee, Bombus perplexus. Variable color patterns. Thorax usually all yellow between the wingpads and often black or brown below the wingpads on the sides. Abdominal T1 and T2 yellow, T3 to T6 black. Some morphs all yellow or yellow in center of T3 with white/light colored fringe on T5 and T6.

Range: Southern Michigan

Conservation Status: 2 Uncommon

Bombus sandersoni

Sanderson’s Bumble Bee

illustration of Sanderson's bumble bee, Bombus sandersoni. Face and top of head black or intermixed with yellow. Thorax mostly yellow with black spot or band between the wingpads and sides all yellow. Abdominal T1 and T2 yellow, and T3 to T6 black. Some morphs have yellow hairs on T5. Queens sometimes with a few yellow hairs on abdominal T5 and T6. Small bee, smaller than B. vagans.

Range: Southern Michigan

Conservation Status: 2 Uncommon

Bombus vagans

Half-black Bumble Bee

illustration of the half-black bumble bee, Bombus vagans. Face black, or intermixed and top of head yellow. Thorax mostly yellow with a black spot between wingpads. Abdominal T1 and T2 yellow and T3 to T6 black.

Range: All Michigan

Conservation Status: 1 Common

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Red on Abdomen

Bombus rufocinctus

Red-belted Bumble Bee

illustration of the red-belted bumble bee, Bombus rufocinctus. Highly variable species with many morphs. Abdominal segment T1 is yellow and T6 is black. Most morphs are either red and/or black on T3, but T2, T4 and T5 can be yellow, red, black, or a combination. Smaller than many other bumble bees. Very round and short face with cheek shorter than width of mandible.
illustration of the red-belted bumble bee, Bombus rufocinctus. Highly variable species with many morphs. Abdominal segment T1 is yellow and T6 is black. Most morphs are either red and/or black on T3, but T2, T4 and T5 can be yellow, red, black, or a combination. Smaller than many other bumble bees. Very round and short face with cheek shorter than width of mandible.

Range: Southern Michigan

Conservation Status: 2 Uncommon

Bombus ternarius

Tri-colored Bumble Bee

Face and top of head yellow or intermixed with black hairs. Thorax mostly yellow with a triangular shaped black band between the wingpads that points towards the abdomen. Abdominal T1 yellow, T2 and T3 orange, T4 yellow, T5 and T6 black.

Range: All Michigan

Conservation Status: 1 Common

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Brown on Mid-Abdomen

Bombus griseocollis

Brown-belted Bumble Bee

illustration of the brown-belted bumble, Bombus griseocollis. Face and vertex mostly black or intermixed yellow/black. Thorax yellow often with a black spot. Abdominal T1 yellow, T2 brown half-moon surrounded by black, and T3 to T6 black.

Range: All Michigan

Conservation Status: 1 Common

Bombus affinis (worker)

Rusty-patched bumble bee

illustration of a rusty-patched bumble bee worker, Bombus affinis. Face and top of head black. Thorax mostly yellow with a black spot or band between the wingpads often triangular-shaped pointed away from the head. Abdominal T1 and T2 yellow with a brown or rusty patch on T2 towards the center surrounded by yellow; T3 to T6 black.

Range: Southern Michigan

Conservation Status:
4 Federally Endangered

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Miscellaneous

Bombus ashtoni

Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee

illustration of Ashton's cuckoo bumble bee, Bombus ashtoni or Bombus bohemicus. Face and top of head black. Thorax sides mostly black with a black spot or band between the wing bases; black band may be large extending to the abdomen. Sparse hairs on abdomen. Abdominal T1 and T2 black, T3 mostly black with yellow on the sides, T4 and T5 with white and T6 black.

Conservation Status:
5 Possibly Extirpated

Bombus insularis

Indiscriminate Cuckoo Bumble Bee

illustration of the indiscriminate cuckoo bumble bee Bombus insularis. Face black with a dense yellow patch above the base of the antenna and vertex yellow. Thorax yellow with large black patch occasionally extending to the wingpads. Abdominal segments T1 and T2 black, T3 to T5 mostly yellow on the sides and black in the middle, and T6 black. Some morphs have a yellow T4 segment and have intermixed fringes on T5.

Conservation Status: 5 Possibly Extirpated

Bombus fernaldae

Fernald’s Cuckoo Bumble Bee

illustration of the Fernald's cuckoo bumble bee, Bombus fernaldae. Thorax yellow in front, black from wings back. Abdomen with sparse haris, black except on T4 with yellow lateral bands.

Conservation Status: 5 Possibly Extirpated

Bombus fraternus

Southern Plains Bumble Bee

illustration of the Southern Plains bumble bee, Bombus fraternus. Thorax yellow with black band between the dark wings. Abdominal T1 and T2 yellow, and T3 to T6 black.

Conservation Status: 5 Possibly Extirpated

Bombus frigidus

Frigid Bumble Bee

illustration of the frigid bumble, Bombus frigidus. Face black or with some short yellow hairs intermixed and top of head yellow. Thorax yellow with black band between the wingpads and yellow on the sides past the wingpads. Abdominal T1 and T2 mostly yellow, T3 black, T4 and T5 orange, and T6 black.

Conservation Status: 5 Possibly Extirpated

Bombus rufocinctus

Red-belted Bumble Bee

illustration of the red-belted bumble bee, Bombus rufocinctus. Highly variable species with many morphs. Abdominal segment T1 is yellow and T6 is black. Most morphs are either red and/or black on T3, but T2, T4 and T5 can be yellow, red, black, or a combination. Smaller than many other bumble bees. Very round and short face with cheek shorter than width of mandible.

Range: Southern Michigan

Conservation Status: 2 Uncommon

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Bumble bee illustration with permission from artist Elaine Evans: University of Minnesota, Befriending Bumblebees

Downloads

Download and print the Bumble Bees of Michigan – Females guide (PDF, 2 MB)