Plants and Animals

Bombus terricola Yellow banded bumble bee

Key Characteristics

Yellow banded queens and workers are similar in appearance, with the queen being of a larger size (length to 0.8 inches versus 0.6). The front of the thorax, second and third abdominal segments are yellow, with some yellowish brown hairs on the fifth segment as well. Head, legs, and remainder of thorax and abdomen are primarily black, with the thorax and abdomen showing slight variation in some individuals. Males average 0.6 inches in length. Intermixed yellow and black hairs cover most of the head, except the front of the face, which is a solid pale yellow. The front of the thorax is pale yellow, while the rear two-thirds are black. Bright yellow hairs are found on the second and third abdominal segments, giving a double-banded appearance. The legs and remaining abdominal segments are black (Evans et al. 2008).

Status and Rank

US Status:
State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
Global Rank: G3G5
State Rank: SNR - Not ranked

Occurrences

CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Alger12018
Antrim12017
Baraga32017
Barry12016
Delta42018
Iron22017
Kalkaska22016
Keweenaw32017
Mackinac62018
Marquette32017
Schoolcraft12017

Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.

Habitat

This species has been found most often in or around wooded areas (Colla and Dumesh 2010).

Natural Community Types

  • Unknown

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Management Recommendations

Formerly common and widespread across much of the eastern United States and seven Canadian provinces, the yellow banded bumblebee has vanished from all but isolated patches of its range, along with several other North American bumblebees of the same subgenus (Evans et al. 2008). Nesting and foraging habitat loss caused by increased urbanization and intensified agricultural landscapes, the spread of pathogens from bumblebees used as commercial pollinators, and recent widespread use of a pesticide group highly toxic to bees (neonicotinoids), are blamed for much of this drastic population decline (Colla and Packer 2008, COSEWIC 2010, Evans et al. 2008, Grixti et al. 2009). Bumblebee management strategies include scaling back the use of herbicides and pesticides, conservation of healthy habitat areas, and promoting native wildflower reestablishment within agricultural and urbanized landscapes. Additionally, planting hedgerows and restoring native grasses along field margins, and in urban parks and residential yards provides habitat for small mammals, whose abandoned holes will in turn become bumblebee nesting and hibernating habitat (Goulson 2010).

Active Period

Active from third week of April to second week of October

Survey Methods

Surveys typically involve capturing foraging bumblebees with an aerial net and identifying the individual species (Colla and Packer 2008, Grixti et al. 2009).

Aerial net, visual survey

Survey Period: From third week of April to second week of October

Time of Day: Daytime

References

Survey References

  • Colla, S.R. and L. Packer. 2008. Evidence for decline in eastern North American bumblebees (Hymenoptera: Apidae), with special focus on Bombus affinis Cresson. Biodiversity and Conservation 17: 1379-91.
  • Grixti, J.C., L.T. Wong, S.A. Cameron and C. Favret. 2009. Decline of bumble bees (Bombus) in the North American Midwest. Biological Conservation 142: 75-84.

Technical References

  • Colla, S.R. and L. Packer. 2008. Evidence for decline in eastern North American bumblebees (Hymenoptera: Apidae), with special focus on Bombus affinis Cresson. Biodiversity and Conservation 17: 1379-91.
  • Colla, S.R. and S. Dumesh. 2010. The Bumble Bees of Southern Ontario: Notes on Natural History and Distribution. Journal of the Entomological Society of Ontario 141:38-67.
  • COSEWIC. 2010. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee Bombus affinis in Canada. Commitee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. 34pp.
  • Evans, E., R. Thorp, S. Jepsen and S.H. Black. 2008. Status Review of Three Formerly Common Species of Bumble Bee in the Subgenus Bombus. Prepared for the Xerces Society of Invertebrate Conservation. [Online] http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/xerces_2008_bombus_status_review.pdf.
  • Goulson, D. 2010. bumblebees: behavior, ecology and conservation. Second Edition. Oxford University Press, New York. 317pp.
  • Grixti, J.C., L.T. Wong, S.A. Cameron and C. Favret. 2009. Decline of bumble bees (Bombus) in the North American Midwest. Biological Conservation 142: 75-84.