Confusing Bumble Bee

Photo © Wikipedia

Bombus perplexus

Common name:
Confusing bumble bee


As its name suggests, this bumble bee can be rather perplexing to identify!  As it’s not very common, rather little is known about this very fuzzy bumble bee.

Physical Appearance

Body hair long length and shaggy.  Thorax entirely yellow, unlike B. vagans.  First and second abdominal segments fully yellow, with all remaining segments black in females.  Queens distinctly larger than workers.  Males always with yellow patch of hair in middle of face, forming a “beard” or “mustache” feature, as well as having an almost entirely yellow abdomen.   Males also lack corbiculae, or the flattened midleg of the hind leg used for transporting pollen.

Color Morphs




Activity Period

Standard colony activity cycle, however not much is known given that this species is relatively uncommon and easily confused with other, more common species.


Historical records indicate that B. perplexus can be found throughout Wisconsin.  However, more thorough modern surveys are needed to assess the current range of the species.

Conservation Status

Analysis of historical records suggests that this species is likely declined since the 1940’s.  However, we are in need of more thorough analysis and additional, modern data to make a better assessment of this species.

Preferred flowers




Can be confused with...

Bombus vagans

Bombus bimaculatus