A large, amber colored bee that is hard to overlook if it is present. Never abundant but not terribly uncommon, with a distinct preference for vetches and clovers.
As the name suggests, this is primarily a northern species. Prior to about 2005, there were very few, if any records from the southern half of the state. Since the late 2000’s it has been found frequently in the Champlain Valley and central VT, with a few records in Windham and Bennington counties.
Identification: One of two predominantly yellow species in the east. Usually significantly oranger than B. fervidus. Other distinguishing features are a wide, black bar between the wings, yellow hairs on the face, and dark armpits.
Golden Northern Bumble Bee (Bombus fervidus): A paler yellow than Northern Amber, Golden Northern has yellow arm pits, a black face, and a thinner dark line between the wings.
Tricolored Bumble Bee (Bombus ternarius): Faded females can be remarkably similar to Northern Amber, at least in abdominal color. With Tricolored there should still be some contrast between the red and yellow segments and the black shield between the wings may still be discernible.
Global Status: Apparently Secure (S4)
Vermont Status: Apparently Secure (S4)
For more information, visit the following links:
Living Atlas Species Page
To see the global distribution, check out the iNaturalist account, and toggle the GBIF layer on the map.