Common Eastern Bumble Bee (Bombus impatiens)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Common Eastern Bumble Bee.
Updated: 2/17/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The ubiquitous Common Eastern Bumble Bee is a busy, buzzing pollinator that helps gardens bloom and crops flourish.
Fuzzy and loud, the Common Eastern Bumble Bee is an industrious workhorse. Like other bumble bees, it is covered in hairs. This species sports a black head and a yellow hairs on its thorax. A shiny black bald spot in the center is typical. The abdomen has a single band of yellow hairs near the waist. The rest of it is covered in black, velvety hairs on each segment.
The Common Eastern Bumble Bee is the most often seen bumble bee in North America. It flies from flower to flower, drinking nectar and collecting pollen. The pollen grains get inadvertently dusted onto the body of the bee. As a bee moves deeper into various flowers, pollen grains fall onto flower pistils (female parts of the flower) and pollination occurs. Pollen grains are deliberately collected by the bumble bee and placed into special pouches on its legs called pollen baskets. Once full, the Common Eastern Bumble Bee will return to its colony and deliver the pollen. The pollen is then taken to special cells to feed larvae.
This social bee form large colonies. It is able to fly at higher, colder altitudes compared to other kinds of bumble bees. Like all insects, cold temperatures slow them down, but they are hardy insects and remain active later into autumn than other species. Bumble bees are unable to survive cold winters, however, and all but the young, future queens die. In the spring, these young queens will lay eggs and begin a new colony of bees.