Common Eastern Bumble Bee

bumblebee

Overview

The common eastern bumble bee, Bombis impatiens is native to the eastern half of North America and is a beneficial pollinator. Many plants in the United States are pollinated by bumble bees. This bee nests underground and will defend its colony by stinging.

Identification

The common eastern bumble bee can be identified by its pale yellow thorax. Its abdomen has the first segment pale yellow and the remaining segments black. It is a common pollinator and can be found on the flowers of many urban and rural plants.

Biology

This bumblee bee species nests in open fields and woods. It is common in urban parks and other disturbed habitats where there are plenty of flowering bushes and plants. Nest are started in the early spring by a single queen. The workers feed their brood with honey and pollen and the nest continues to expand until late fall. At this time new queens and males are produced. They mate and all the rest of the colony dies with only the mated queens remaining to over-winter. The single mated queen spends the winter in an underground protected chamber.

Prevention of bumble bee stings

Bumble bees do not have a barb on the end of their stinger so they can sting repeatedly. The bee marks the area of the sting with an alarm pheromone that alerts and attracts nearby bees to the same location where they continue to sting. The best course of action is to quickly and carefully evacuate the immediate area, run.

If you are allergic to bumnble bee stings or have a serious swelling at the site of a sting, then you want to prevent stings in the first place. There are a couple of things you can do in additon to being careful and aware of your surroundings. Bright flower patterns on clothes may attract bees to investigate. Waving arms wildly in the air may bring you in direct contact with a bee that will sting in self defense. Calmly and quickly leave the immediate area.

Control

Under normal conditions you do not want to kill bumble bees. They are a beneficial insect pollinating many plants in nature. Bumble bees are only aggressive in defending their nest and in self defense.

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