Far and away the most variable Bombus in the northeast. It usually has at least a bit of red on the abdomen, though perhaps ~25% of individuals don’t. Generally a northern species, but in Vermont not commonly found outside the Champlain Valley, with a few records for Washington and Orleans County.

Identification: Abdomen pattern variable, can be quite similar to numerous other species. Click here to explore some of the variation in this species. When present, the red hair is often brighter and/or more limited than Tricolored Bumble Bees, which will never have red on T1. With Red-belted Bumble Bee, if there is red on T2 or T3, then T4 is almost never yellow. Many of the Red-belted Bumble Bee without red have yellow bands on T1 and T4, though occasional specimens only have yellow on T1 and T2 thus appear superficially similar to Brown-belted or Half-black. The black mark on the thorax is usually oval shaped unlike the round or shield shaped marks in other species. All females have relatively short hair and very short faces, which give them a cute, soft gestalt. Males have large eyes and often perch high on vegetation near flowers and aggressively pursue potential mates.

Similar Species: Superficially similar to many other species including Tricolored Bumble Bees (Bombus ternarius) and species in the groups here and here.

Global Status: Secure (G5)

Vermont Status: Vulnerable (S3)


For more information, visit the following links:

Discover Life
Living Atlas Species Page



To see the global distribution, check out the iNaturalist account, and toggle the GBIF layer on the map.