Bombus fervidus

Bombus fervidus

Bombus fervidus (the yellow bumble bee)

Bombus fervidus. Lee County, Illinois, 23 July.

Status in Illinois


Technical description (from Medler and Carney 1963)

Queen: Face and vertex with black hairs, but with a few light hairs intermixed at the bases of antennae. Dorsum of thorax with yellow hairs except for a prominent interalar band of black hairs; pleura mostly yellow, but black hairs on the lower part and at bases of the legs. Abdomen with tergites 1-4 entirely yellow; tergites 5-6 black. Venter of abdomen, legs and corbicular fringes black.
Worker: Same markings as the queen.
Male: Marked much the same as the female, but pleura entirely yellow to the bases of the legs. Dorsum of thorax with tergites 1-5 yellow, tergite 6 black with a narrow fringe of yellow hairs on the basal middle; tergite 7 entirely black. Venter with yellow hairs at the lateral margins.

VARIATION: The variety dorsalis Cresson is without the black interalar band, the thoracic dorsum being covered with yellow hairs (the black band intergrades continuously from prominent to absent, and dorsalis is merely the extreme intergrade). Male with the sixth abdominal tergite often entirely yellow.



Queens of this species nest in a very wide variety of sites. Colonies are large, with 100-200 workers. Workers are known for repelling intruders in the nest (including parasitic Psithyrus queens) by covering them with honey. According to Medler and Carney (1963), this species is "exceedingly vicious" in defending the nest and will pursue a potential attacker for several hundred yards from the colony.

Flight periods

Queens: . Workers: . Males: .

Main flower preferences

Queen: red clover, vetch, Indian paintbrush; workers: red clover, thistles; males: red and sweet clovers.

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