Common Name: Bumblebee

Latin Name: Bombus

Common Family Name: Bees

Latin Family Name: Apidae

Other Names:

Origin: There are a great many species of bumblebees that are native to North America.

Biology: These are social bees that establish small colonies, using many kinds of available cavities. Nests may be in the ground, in hollow logs or trees, in walls or structures, or in other cavities they can find. Nests do not survive the winter months, but instead each colony is begun in the spring by a fertilized, hibernating queen. Colonies grow to a few hundred workers, sometimes more, by the end of the summer. Males and new queens are produced, mating takes place, and the males, the old queen, and all the workers die. The nest consists of wax “honey pots” that are filled with nectar, and adjacent cells that contain the eggs and larvae. The larvae feed on a paste of honey and pollen placed near them by the workers. The nest is often lined with grass or other dried plant material. The workers generally are not aggressive unless their colony is threatened.

Identification: Bumblebees can usually be separated from other bees by their large size and densely hairy bodies, as well as by the compound eyes that are not hairy. Coloring is normally black with patches of yellow or orange hairs.

Characteristics Important in Control: These are beneficial bees that normally do not warrant control. However, if their nest is in a sensitive location it can be treated with a residual dust product, and the nest and cells removed and disposed of.