Real Bees

The Common Eastern Bumblebee is, as the name suggests, our default bumblebee species. Bombus impatiens is found throughout the east-of-Mississippi River region, from FL to NS.

Bumble Bees of North America by Williams, Throp, Richardson, & Colla, lists only five color pattern forms (two queen, one worker, two male) for this species. That’s not a lot compared to some other Bombus species. They also note it looks like four other species (and say “see also” four other species.) The workers can range from 9-14mm in body length, which is a lot for mm. Queens up to 22mm. All this to suggest you really have to look at your bumblebees.

For instance, I saw this one moving amid the clover and assumed it was yet another impatiens.
Putting the stop action on (i.e. photographing) the creature, though: that’s a dark strip on the abdomen.
This is a Brown-belted Bumblebee. Bombus griseocollis has seventeen color patterns in the book previously noted.
This species is more widespread across the country than impatiens. Found across the east, through the Great Plains, and even including lower elevations of the Rockies. But we see less of them here in the city. Or are we not looking close enough? Nine of the seventeen color forms don’t have brown bands (!).

Anyway, just look at the pollen on this beauty! Veritable waterwings of protein-rich pollen for her young.
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