Bumble Bees

North Shore Bumble Bees

A Guide to the Bombus Species of the North Shore Area

This guide is intended for general usage and the identification of Bumblebees commonly recognized as being indigenous to the North Shore and surrounding areas of Vancouver, B.C. It has been developed as a public information source and should not to be considered a scientific, all-inclusive or confirmed list of species currently active on the North Shore.

The Bumblebee, (sp. Bombus) is one of North and South America’s most important Native Pollinating Bees, having a historical habitat range from the sub-arctic regions in the North to Chile in the South. This large and easily recognizable bee family is typically active in North Shore Garden areas from the early Spring months, March/April, until the mid or late Autumn in October.


2009-aug-19_bombus-melanopygusOrange Rumped Bumble BeeBombus melanopygus This species is an abundant and hardy cavity nesting bee commonly found in many gardens and attic spaces throughout the North Shore. Can be identified by it’s yellow face, black and yellow thorax and it distinctive orange waist and dark tail.This species of Bumble bee has a wide range of different color patterns with less distinctive markings and is often confused with other types of Bumbles with similar colors.

vosnessenski maleYellow Faced Bumble BeeBombus vosnesenski , A regular visitor of North Shore gardens often found nesting in ground spaces and under woodpiles. It’s very distinctive yellow and black markings with yellow face make it one of the most easily identifiable Bumbles on the North Shore.

bombus-flavifronsBright Yellow Bumble BeeBombus flavifrons , This long term native of the North Shore can be found in many local gardens and natural habitat areas foraging in our indigenous blackberry and clover patches in the warm summer months. It is another of our yellow headed bumble bees with yellow body markings and black stripes across it’s tail.

bombus_mixtusi_sd10782Orange Tail Bumble BeeBombus mixtus , This yellow headed Bumble Bee appears at first glance to have the same color patterns as the Orange Rumped melanopygus, but with closer examination it’s mostly orange tail helps to distinguish it from its similar relative.

rufocinctus-redbeltedbumblebeeRed Belted Bumble BeeBombus rufocinctus, this native bumble bee has a black face and distinctive black spot surrounded by yellow on its thorax ,between the wings and also has a wide red/orange belt of color around it’s abdomen. this bumble has a wide variety of color patterns between the males and females of the species.It can often be seen foraging in our gardens during the warmer summer months from July thru Sept.

sitkensis femaleSitka Bumble BeeBombus sitkensis – A yellow and black faced Bumble Bee species considered to indigenous to our area. The Sitka Bumble can easily be mistaken for both Bombus mixtus and Bombus flavifrons due to their similarity of color patterns.

2011-aug-27_bombusoccidentalisWestern Bumble BeeBombus occidentalis – This bee was once considered to be the most numerous of all of the Bumble Bee species native to the Pacific North West, quite recognizable with its black face, yellow and black thorax and distinctive white tail markings. Unfortunately this bee species has reportedly suffered a serious loss of population levels of over 90% in many of it’s historical habitats, including here on the North Shore and in the greater Fraser Valley area.

Recent B.C. Gov. surveys conducted to help determine the existing population levels of the Western Bumble Bee, within B.C., have confirmed the Endangered to nearly non-existant status of our once most plentiful Bumble Bee Species.

Across the Pacific North West many different groups are currently trying to identify and conserve habitat areas still occupied with viable populations of the Western Bumble Bee.

If you find that you can identify this bee in your area please contact us at – info@beefriendly.ca