Yellow-banded Bumble Bee

Bombus terricola

Common name:
Yellow-banded bumble bee


One of the rarest bumble bees in Wisconsin.  Once one of the most common in the wetlands of central Wisconsin, now we struggle to locate populations.  This species is a candidate for protection under the endangered species act.

Physical Appearance

Body hair medium length and even.  Thorax yellow on the front third, and all black on the back two-thirds.  First abdominal segment black, second two dark yellow, often with a darker patch on the front of the first yellow segment.  Remainder of the tail black, with a fringe of small yellow hairs on the margin of segment 5.  Males lack corbiculae, or the flattened midleg of the hind leg used for transporting pollen.

Color Morphs




Activity Period

Somewhat shorter colony cycles, but we don’t know much about this species.  Queens emerge April/May depending on weather.  Workers can be found late May to August/September.  New queens and males anywhere from June to September.


B. terricola is thought to be historically distributed across the state.  However, modern records only find it in select places, including the marshy wetlands of central Wisconsin.

Conservation Status

This species used to be one of the most common in Wisconsin, occupying almost 25% of historical records from 1900-1950.  Today, however, it occupies less than 2% of records, thus making it a candidate for protection under the ESA.

Preferred Flowers


Vaccinium (Cranberry)

Penstemon (Beardtongue)

Can be confused with...

B. auricomus

B. pensylvanicus