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brown-belted bumble bee

brown-belted bumble bee (Bombus griseocollis)

Features and Behaviors

Coloration is somewhat variable. Queens and workers have yellow “hair” on the thorax and first abdominal segment. There may be a black spot between the wing bases. The second abdominal segment has a yellow or brown crescent. The “hair” on the tail is black. All “hairs” are short. Wings are clear with black veins.

The brown-belted bumble bee is a medium-tongued bee. It is often seen at milkweeds (Asclepias spp.), thistles (Cirsium spp.), sunflowers (Helinathus spp.), goldenrods (Solidago spp.), sumacs (Rhus spp.) and loosestrifes (Lythrum spp.). This species nests on the surface of the ground. Queens are active from May through September. Workers are active from June through September. Males are active from July through October. These bees are important pollinators of the flowers that they visit to collect nectar and pollen. They are eusocial insects. Their life cycle includes egg, larva, pupa and adult stages. Only the fertilized queen overwinters from a colony. In the spring, she selects a nest site and constructs the nest, which is lined with plant materials. The first brood raised consists of all workers (females). The workers do all the jobs of the hive except egg‐laying. Late in the year both males and queens are produced. Males mate with queens in the fall.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Apidae

Illinois Status: common, native