Bombus griseocollis are most common in the eastern US, though they range across North America. Brown-belted Bumble Bees are visible from May to October, while they feast on a nectar diet from plants such as milkweeds, sunflowers, coneflowers, and sumacs. These flower sizes all make nectar available to this bumble bee’s medium-length tongue. The Queens of this species are picky however, demonstrating a fondness for Legumes (plants in the bean family).
Nests for this species can be found on the ground or just below the surface and are usually populated by 50 or fewer bees. Prime real estate for Brown-belted Bumble Bees isn’t confined to one particular habitat type — nests have been found in forests, wetlands, prairies, and human-inhabited areas, both in farmland and in cities. As far as conservation goes, this species has no shown significant declines and we are likely to continute to see them flying through the meadows and dawdling through the summer skies.
The Brown-belted Bumble Bee, Bombus griseocollis, is characterized by yellow hair covering the head and thorax, with black fur indicating the abdomen. A black spot can often be seen between the wing bases. This pattern is broken by a brown band of hair on the second segment of the abdomen, surrounding by the usual patch of black hair. The band is a light shade of brown, like a streak of dried dirt. The Queens of this species are typically bigger than the workers – 2 to 2.5 cm long compared to 1.5 cm in length. Both have black heads and legs, with large eyes.
Written by: Robert Gibson, an undergraduate Environmental Studies student at the University of Oklahoma