Insect Identification
Insect Identification

Golden Northern Bumble Bee - (Bombus fervidas)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 5/29/2015

The industrious Golden Northern Bumble Bee is a fuzzy, buzzing, picture-perfect, honey-making machine.

The Golden Northern Bumble Bee features an all-black head and dark wings. A black band runs across the mostly yellow thorax and the abdomen is nearly all yellow with the exception of the very tip, which is black. White coloring is also present to the keen observer.

The Golden Northern Bumble Bee is a relatively large species and includes both worker and drone bees along with a queen bee in their hive structure. All members of the hive die in winter except for the queen. She alone emerges in the spring and begins building brood cells and laying eggs. This queen will die at the end of the autumn and one of her daughters, a new queen, will take over. Other mated daughters will overwinter and establish new hives in the spring.

Hives are built in the ground. Cells are made of beeswax and are built to store eggs. Larvae hatch in the cells and eat the honey that was made by the adults and stored for them.

Adults are extremely good pollinators and are a benefit to have around in the garden. They have pollen baskets (open pouches) on their hindlegs for collecting pollen grains that will eventually become honey, though it is not the same kind of honey that is made by honeybees and consumed by humans. Adult Golden Northern Bumble Bees drink flower nectar and eat from their supply of honey.

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Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Common name: Golden Northern Bumble Bee
Scientific Name: Bombus fervidas
Other Names: Bumble Bee

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
     Order: Hymenoptera
      Family: Apidae
       Genus: Bombus
        Species: fervidas

Adult Size (Length): 10mm to 23mm (0.39in to 0.91in)

Identifying Colors: black; gray; yellow; white

Additional Descriptors: flying, helpful

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; British Columbia; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Mexico

* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.