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golden northern bumble bee

golden northern bumble bee (Bombus fervidus)

Features and Behaviors

Coloration is somewhat variable. Color in the descriptions refers to “hair” color. “Hair” is of medium length. The face is black. The thorax and the first four abdominal segments are mainly yellow. There is usually a black band between the base of the wings. The fifth abdominal segment is black. Wings are clear with black veins.

These insects are long-tongued bees that are found in open fields and meadows. They are often seen at honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.), thistles (Cirsium spp.), clovers (Trifolium spp.), beardstongues (Penstemon spp.), loosestrifes (Lythrum spp.), vetches (Vicia spp.) and bee balms (Monarda spp.). They are important pollinators of the flowers that they visit to collect nectar and pollen. They are eusocial insects. They nest on or under the surface of the ground. 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: uncommon, native