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common eastern bumble bee

common eastern bumble bee (Bombus impatiens)

Features and Behaviors

Female common eastern bumble bees have the first segment of the abdomen yellow with the rest of the abdominal segments black. All the abdominal segments are covered with hairs. The thorax has yellow hairs, and there is a small, central black spot on the back. The male is very similar in coloration to the female, except that he also has some yellow hairs on the head and a larger black spot on the thorax. The tongue is considered long, allowing the species to visit a variety of flower shapes. Like all bees, they have a thick body with the division between the thorax and abdomen easily seen, four wings, hairs, stocky legs, long antennae and eyes on the side of the head.

Common eastern bumble bees nest in the ground, among leaves on the ground or in piles of wood. The species is active from March to September.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native