Northern Amber Bumblebee
Identification: Abdomen 1 to 4 completely yellow. Face black. Thorax sides black.
Queen and Worker:
Head: Pale to yellow copious hairs over entire face, except for sides. Long pale yellow hairs on top of head and around mouth area.
Thorax: Bright yellow with wide black stripe or band between wing bases. Sides and underside of thorax dark gray; yellow does not extend much down past wings, except near front. Bottom end black.
Wings: Lightly tinted, veins blackish.
Legs: Legs black. Spurs black. Feet brownish-black. Hairs very fine, appressed pale yellow, does not obscure surface. Pollen basket fringe black, long.
Abdomen: Abdominal segments 1 to 4 yellow, 5 and 6 black. Underside of abdomen is light brown.
Male: Overall slightly longer hairs than queen and female.
Head: Mostly pale yellow to gray hairs, long and yellow in centre top of head (median vertex) and gray around mouth. Some black around antenna.
Thorax: Yellow with black stripe or band between wing bases. Sides and bottom end black, sometimes with slight mix of yellow on sides and underside.
Wings: Wing knobs brownish-black. Wings uniformly, lightly tinted, veins brownish-black.
Legs: Legs black becoming reddish-brown near body. Feet more brown-black. Spurs brownish-black. Hairs at top of legs pale yellow. Hind shin flattened, shiny, hairs very short and entirely black.
Abdomen: Abdominal segments 1 to 4 yellow. 5 and 6 are black on the first part of the segment and yellow near the rear of the segment (toward tail end). Segment 7 has longer black hairs with slight yellow tips. Underside of abdomen is light brown.
Similar Species: Bombus fervidus has only black hairs on head and more yellow on thorax.
Size: Queen 18 to 22 mm. Worker 13 mm. Male 14 to 17 mm.
Flight Time: Late May to August
Food: Flower nectar and pollen.
Life Cycle: At end of season (Sept. or Oct.) males or drones and workers die. Fertile Queens hibernate and start new colonies in the spring. Usually nest under moss or grass, or old mice nests, creating waxy cells. Eggs are laid in cells and fed nectar and pollen by the Queen until the first brood of worker are ready to take over these responsibilities. In early August, males or drones emerge. Within a few days both sexes leave the old nest and do not return.
Comments: Despite records by Laverty & Harder 1988, this species has never been present in Essex or Kent County. Found from London to Hudson Bay per Colla maps. Not on any list and no specimens at CNC in Ottawa per Colla.