North American Bumblebees
And Bumblebees Of
Central America And Mexico

The USA has over 3,000 known species of bee, and of these, about 40 are bumblebees (i.e. of the genus Bombus).


As in other areas of the world, bumblebees are a cause for concern

Bombus franklini and Bombus occidentalis are unfortunately believed to be on the brink of extinction/facing very serious decline.

Wherever possible, please try to do your bit to help if you can.  In particular, please try to leave bee nests alone.  I do not recommend killing bumblebees even just to 'take a closer look' or 'to collect' them.

Threats to bumblebees include:

  • habitat loss: due to intensive agriculture, urbanization and building development;
  • the use of pesticides,such as neonicotinoids;
  • general pollution, and
  • the introduction of diseases and parasites from Europe due to commercial trade in bumblebees for pollination (i.e. for using in pollinating greenhouse crops such as tomatoes) - read more on my page about commercially reared bumblebees.

Here is a list of North American bumblebees, including cuckoo species.

(Note ‘B.’ stands for Bombus).

Bumblebees of North America - Social Species

B. affinus

B. appositus

B. balteatus

B. bifarius bifarius

B. bifarius nearcticus

B. bimaculatus

B. borealis

B. californicus

B. caliginosus

B. centralis

B. crotchii

B. edwardsii

B. fervidus fervidus

B. flavifrons flavifrons

B. fraternus

B. frigidus

B. griseocollis

B. huntii

B. hyperboreus

B. impatiens

B. lucorum lucorum

B. melanopygus

B. mixtus

B. morrisoni

B. nevadensis auricomus

B. nevadensis nevandensis

B. pennsylvanicus pennsylvanicus

B. pennsylvanicus sonorus

B. perplexus

B. polaris polaris

B. rufocinctus

B. sandersoni

B. sitkensis

B. sylvicola

B. ternaries

B. terricola occidentalis

B. terricola terricola

B. vagans vagans

B. vandykei

B. vosnesenskii



Cuckoo Bumblebees of North America (Psythirus)

(Read more about cuckoo bumblebees)


B. ashtoni

B. citrinus

B. crawfordii

B. fernaldae

B. insularis

B. suckleyi

B. variabalis



Bumblebees of Mexico and Central America


B. brachycephalus

B. dahlhomii

B. ephippiatus

B. mexicanus

B. pullatus

B. volucella


Ref: Bumblebee Economics by B. Heinrich, Harvard University Press, 2004.

The book, Bumble Bees of North America is a a good identification guide, and is available with free delivery worldwide from The Book Depository (opens a new window).

See my review and description here.

For identification charts and further information, see Bee Identification.

Go to Bumblebees (introductory page)

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Book Review

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Bumble Bees of North America

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