Perhaps the most recognizable species in Vermont, widespread and common, though less so in the Champlain Valley. Active early in the spring and often abundant late in the season on asteraceae (esp. goldenrods).

Identification: The YRRYB pattern on the abdomen is distinctive, as is the black ‘shield’ like pattern on the thorax. Proportions, hair length, and male eye size similar to other pyrobomus. Males look like hairy, yellower workers.

Similar Species:

Red-belted Bumble Bees (Bombus rufocinctus): The only other species with significant red/orange, though rarely with yellow then black after the red. Never has the black shield on the thorax, males have much larger eyes.

Northern Amber Bumble Bee (Bombus borealis): Pale and/or faded female B. ternarius can look remarkably similar to B. borealis, though T1 and T4 are almost always a shade or two lighter than T2 and T3. B. borealis also lacks the distinctive black shield on the thorax.


Global Status: Secure (G5)

Vermont Status: Secure (S5)


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.