Types of bumblebees

Types of bumblebees
Posted on 20-05-2023

Types of bumblebees



The main types of bumblebees are: common or European white-tailed bumblebee, common eastern bumblebee, Chilean bumblebee, tree bumblebee, large garden bumblebee, boreal bumblebee, medium black bumblebee, moss bumblebee, common bumblebee, yellow bumblebee, field cuckoo bumblebee and gypsy cuckoo bumblebee.

In the apid group we can find certain members that are particularly robust, hairy and large, which are known as bumblebees. They all belong to the genus Bombus , under which there are 15 subgenera and 250 species. Many species are pollinators, whose work is worth 10 billion dollars a year, but there are also others that do not have the capacity to store pollen and are parasites. Next, in this EcologíaVerde article, we will present some of the types of bumblebees that currently exist and what their specific characteristics are.



Common or European white-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris)


This is the most common bumblebee in Europe . It is an important pollinator , so it has been introduced to other countries outside of its native origin, especially for pollination in greenhouses to avoid time-consuming hand pollination. Unfortunately, it has become an invasive species that displaces native bumblebees, and importation has been prohibited in many places. Like other pollinating bumblebees , it has baskets called corbicula on its hind legs where it collects pollen.


Common Eastern Bumblebee (Bombus impatiens)

This bumblebee can be found in natural areas of North America, but it can even be seen in urban areas, hence its common name. It is one of the most important pollinators in North America , responsible for much of the production of wild plants and cultivated plants, including greenhouse ones. Its use has increased since the ban on the common European bumblebee. The name of the species comes from one of the flowers it consumes, the impatiens.


Chilean bumblebee (Bombus dahlbomii)

It is the only bumblebee native to the southern cone of South America , which includes Chile and Argentina. It is in danger of extinction due to the introduction of exotic bumblebees, such as the European one. It is responsible for many also native plants, so its disappearance would have a knock-on effect. It is orange in color and the queen female is the largest bumblebee in existence, at 4 centimeters long.


Tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)


It is native to Eurasia, and little by little it has reached other places, such as England. It is peculiar because it approaches flowers that other bumblebees do not frequent, possibly because their nesting areas are in trees or man-made structures, such as bird houses. The thorax is orange and the abdomen black, with a white tail .


Large garden bumblebee (Bombus ruderatus)

It is the largest bumblebee in Europe , and it is peculiar because it has a long tongue with which it reaches the inside of flowers that other bumblebees cannot reach. They are black with yellow bands . This species is used for crop pollination, but it has been introduced to other areas, displacing native bumblebees and becoming invasive.


Boreal bumblebee (Bombus borealis)

The Bombus borealis lives in the forests of North America , and its body is black with yellow bands . It also has a long tongue adapted to the deep corollas of flowers. It frequents asteraceae flowers, thistles and herbs of the genus Vicia.


Medium black bumblebee (Bombus vagans)

It is unmistakable because it has a black dot between the yellow hairs on its back , located between the wings, followed by two fragments of the abdomen, also yellow, followed by a black color up to the tail. It is a pollinator that likes asteraceae flowers, Asclepias and bells of the genus Penstemon . The tongue is of medium size. It is native to North America, and frequents dense forests.


Abejorro cardador del musgo (Mosque bomb)

It makes its nest on or under the ground, made with moss that it collects to cover the nest and hence it is called "cardador" bumblebee. They are orange and yellow in color and frequent open fields where they feed on clover and asteraceae flowers.


Common carding bumblebee (Bombus pascuorum)

It is found practically throughout Europe , including urban areas and gardens. They are orange with black underparts , and females have a white line on their sides. They pollinate flowers such as white clover and asteraceae. They build their nests with leaf litter.


Abejorro amarillo (Bombus fervidum)

Native to North America, it is light yellow in color with the last part of the abdomen black . Their communities are in decline, and they are not very common, which is why there are not many conservation actions aimed at preserving them. Its favorite flowers are the thistle, clovers, and bee balm of the Monarda genus .


Field cuckoo bumblebee (Bombus campestris)

So far we have reviewed bumblebees that are pollinators, but there is the subgenus Psithyrus, whose members are commonly called cuckoo bumblebees , which do not collect pollen for their offspring but instead stalk the nests of carding bumblebees, since they do not have structures to capture pollen. as do other bumblebees. Arriving at the foreign colony, they kill the queen to dominate the colony and for its members to raise her larvae. They are yellow with black stripes .


Gypsy cuckoo bumblebee (Bombus bohemicus)

This is another bumblebee that does not collect pollen and has to parasitize the colonies of other bumblebees to survive. They do not have workers, but only produce reproductive males and females. It is native to Eurasia and is the most common cuckoo bumblebee in Europe. They have the white tail part .


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