Bumble Bee Identification – Eastern Canada

Bumble bees belong to the insect family Hymenoptera, which includes the bees, ants, wasps and sawflies. There are over 40 recorded species of bumble bees in Canada, widely distributed across all corners of the country. Bumble bees are important pollinators – they are capable of performing buzz pollination, or the rapid contraction of the bumble bee’s flight muscles, producing strong vibrations that cause pollen to be released from flowers that would otherwise be inaccessible. This ability makes them particularly effective at pollinating a number of wildflowers, fruits and vegetables.

The incredible range and diversity of bumble bees means that you can spot a variety of different bumble bees, in different regions, at different times throughout the season.

All lab specimen images provided courtesy of Margarita Miklasevskaja at PCYU with funding from NSERC-CANPOLIN.  Friends of the Earth extends a special thank you to Packer Lab at York University.

 

Common Eastern Bumble Bee

Common name: Common eastern bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus impatiens
Habitat: Close to or within woodland, grassland, farmland, wetlands, urban parks and gardens1

 


 

Two-Spotted Bumble Bee

Common name: Two-spotted bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus bimaculatus
Habitat: Close to or within wooded areas, urban parks and gardens2

 


 

Brown-Belted Bumble Bee

Common name: Brown-belted bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus griseocollis
Habitat: Open farmland, parks, gardens, wetlands3

 


 

Tri-Coloured Bumble Bee

Common name: Tri-coloured bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus ternarius
Habitat: Close to or within woodland, wetlands4

 


 

Red-Belted Bumble Bee

Common name: Red-belted bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus rufocinctus
Habitat: Open farmland, parks, gardens, wetlands5

 


 

Half-Black Bumble Bee

Common name: Half-black bumble bee
Latin name: Bombus vagans
Habitat: Forests, wetlands, urban parks and gardens6

 


 

Yellow-Banded Bumble Bee

Common name: Yellow-banded bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus terricola
Habitat: Close to or within wooded areas and wetlands7

 


 

Northern Amber Bumble Bee

Common name: Northern amber bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus borealis
Habitat: Close to or within wooded areas8

 


 

Yellow Bumble Bee

Common name: Yellow bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus fervidus
Habitat: Grassland, farmland, urban parks, gardens9

 


 

Lemon Cuckoo Bumble Bee

Common name: Lemon cuckoo bee
Scientific name: Bombus citrinus
Habitat: Close to or within wooded areas10

 


 

Confusing Bumble Bee

Common name: Confusing bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus perplexus
Habitat: Wooded areas, urban parks, gardens, and wetlands11

 


 

American Bumble Bee

Common name: American bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus pensylvanicus
Habitat: Open farmland and fields12

 


Black & Gold Bumble Bee

Common name: Black and gold bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus auricomus
Habitat: Open grassland and old field habitats13

 


 

Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee

Common name: Rusty-patched bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus affinis
Habitat: Close to or within woodlands14

 


 

Sanderson Bumble Bee

Common name: Sanderson bumble bee

Latin name: Bombus sandersoni

Habitat: Near or within wooded areas15

 


Nevada Bumble Bee

Common name: Nevada bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus nevadensis
Habitat: Open grassy prairies and meadows16

 


 

Forest Bumble Bee

Common name: Forest bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus sylvicola
Habitat: Open grassy areas and mountain meadows17

 


 

Black Tail Bumble Bee

Common name: Black tail bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus melanopygus
Habitat: Open grassy areas, urban parks and gardens, shrub areas, and mountain meadows18

 


 

Cryptic Bumble Bee

Common name: Cryptic bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus cryptarum
Habitat: Tundra and taiga habitats19

 


 

Yellow Head Bumble Bee

Common name: Yellow head bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus flavifrons
Habitat: Grassy prairies and mountain meadows as well as transition and northern forest areas20

 


 

Frigid Bumble Bee

Common name: Frigid bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus frigidus
Habitat: Tundra and taiga, boreal forest, and mountain meadow habitat21

 


 

Gyspy Cuckoo Bumble Bee

Common name: Gypsy cuckoo bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus bohemicus
Habitat: Open meadows, agricultural and urban areas, boreal forest and woodlands22

 


 

Fernald Cuckoo Bumble Bee

Common name: Fernald cuckoo bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus fernaldae
Habitat: Openings and meadow edges in montane and boreal forest23

 


 

Fuzzy-Horned Bumble Bee

Common name: Fuzzy-horned
Scientific name: Bombus mixtus
Habitat: Open grassy areas, shrub areas, and mountain meadows24

 


 

Indiscriminate Cuckoo Bumble Bee

Common name: Indiscriminate bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus insularis
Habitat: Tundra and taiga, western mountain ranges, and some maritime regions25

 


 

Polar Bumble Bee

Common name: Polar bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus polaris
Habitat: Tundra habitats26

 


 

Hunt Bumble Bee

Common name: Hunt bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus huntii
Habitat: Prairies and meadows27

 


 

Suckley Cuckoo Bumble Bee

Common name: Suckley cuckoo bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus suckleyi
Habitat: Open grassy areas, shrub areas, and mountain meadows28

 


 

High Arctic Bumble Bee

Common name: High arctic bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus natvigi
Habitat: Tundra habitats29

 


 

High Country Bumble Bee

Common name: High country bumble bee
Scientific name: Bombus balteatus
Habitat: Alpine tundra, high subalpine forest meadows, open boreal areas and Arctic tundra30

 


White-Tail Bumble Bee

Common name: White-Tail Bumble Bee

Scientific name: Bombus lucorum

Habitat: Garden, upland, moorland31


1. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44937797/0
2. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44937719/0
3. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44937645/0
4. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44937988/0
5. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/21215145/0
6. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44938024/0
7. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44937505/0
8. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44938377/0
9. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/21215132/0
10. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44937676/0
11. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44937925/0
12. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/21215172/0
13. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44936424/0
14. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44937399/0
15. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44937931/0
16. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/21215146/0
17. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44937945/0
18. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44937809/0
19. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/13340340/0
20. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44937784/0
21. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44937790/0
22. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/13152926/0
23. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/13340361/0
24. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44937898/0
25. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44937688/0
26. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/88120725/0
27. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/21215139/0
28. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44937699/0
29. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/88089236/0
30. http://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=IIHYM24060