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.

Bumble Bees of North America

Read my review

The book, 'Bumble Bees of North America' is a a good identification guide. See my review and description here.

Another book I heartily recommend is 'The Bees In Your Backyard'....

Bees eat pollen and nectar

- everyone knows that!

But what else do they eat?


Do bees sleep?
Apparently they do, but how do we know?


John Lewis-Stempel

Read my review of this beautiful nature diary

For identification charts and further information, see Bee Identification.

Go to Bumblebees (introductory page)

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Bumble Bees of North America

Read my review

Bees, Wasps, and Ants: The Indispensable Role of Hymenoptera in Gardens

"Few insects are more important than bees, wasps, and ants. They maintain the garden’s biological balance, fertilize vegetables, fruits, and flowers, and recycle nutrients within the soil. It’s no exaggeration to say that a garden can’t be understood without an understanding of its insects."

Are you thinking of purchasing a box of bumblebees for your garden?

Please read this first

Click the button below to read more about bumblebees:

you have found a bee and don't know what to do
click here


How many times per second can a bumblebee beat it's wings?

Click here

(clicking on the link opens a new window)