Over 50 species of bumble bees or humble bees ( Bombus spp.), named for the humming sound they make while flying, occur throughout North America (Canada, the United States, and Mexico). Forty-four bumble bee species are known to be native to the United States and Canada (Natural History Museum, 2009).
Bumble bee species are large and very hairy. They are generally black and yellow but often have white or orange bands. They range in size between 3/8 and 3/4 inch long.
Bumble bees nest in open fields and woods.
Bumble bees are found throughout North America, but are declining across their range. Major threats include the spread of pests and diseases by the commercial bee industry, other pests and diseases, habitat destruction, pesticides, invasive species, and climate change.
- Stinging Insects: Bumble Bees (K. Gardner, C. Klass, and N. Calderone, Cornell University Master Beekeeper Program)
- Bumblebee Foraging Preferences: Differences Between Species and Individuals (Laura Brodie, University of Aberdeen, www.bumblebee.org)
- Honey Bees, Bumble Bees, Carpenter Bees, and Sweat Bees (R. Wright, P. Mulder, and H. Reed, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service)
- Importation of Non-Native Bumble Bees into North America: Potential Consequences of Using Bombus terrestris and Other Non-Native Bumble Bees for Greenhouse Crop Pollination in Canada, Mexico, and the United States (K. Winter, L. Adams, R. Thorp, D. Inouye, L. Day, J. Ascher, and S. Buchmann, North American Pollinator Protection Campaign, August 2006)
- Bumble Bee Biology and Management (International Pollination Systems)
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