Yellow banded bumble bee (Bombus terricola) colony at Wildlife Preservation Canada’s Bumble Bee Conservation Lab. Photo: P. Smale.
In addition, WPC rears common bumble bee species to compare colony success, pathogen loads, and other metrics to that of the yellow-banded bumble bee. Choosing which common species to use, however, comes with several considerations to ensure the data generated is valid for comparison.
One of these considerations is the seasonal difference between species. Since the yellow-banded bumble bee emerges earlier in the spring, WPC wants to consider common species that follow a similar seasonal pattern. This is where you come in!
Submitting your observations to Bumble Bee Watch provides WPC’s Bumble Bee Conservation Lab with great insight regarding the similarities and differences of bumble bee species. This year, WPC started breeding the tri-coloured bumble bee (B. ternarius) because it has been found to have a similar emergence time and temperature range as the yellow-banded bumble bee.
Share and explore observations
Your Bumble Bee Watch submissions help conservationists make decisions to support at-risk species, so be on the lookout for queens this fall and next spring as the snow thaws. If you can take a photographs of the bee from a few different angles, that will help experts identify the bee(s) you observe.
You can also explore emergence times of species in your area on Bumble Bee Watch! From the gallery, select the State/Province you reside in and try filtering by different months. What species do you see recorded in April? Do you notice any different species observed in May or June? Depending on where you live, you may even see some recorded in winter months.
Bumble Bee Watch is a collaborative effort led by Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation to track and conserve North America’s bumble bees. Bumble Bee Watch is helping to track imperiled and common species alike to help us understand where to best direct our conservation efforts. Data collected from this community science project has helped to inform endangered species decisions as well as the potential range expansion of some of our more common species. The best part: it’s easy! Next time you’re out in nature and see a bumble bee, take a photo. Then go to bumblebeewatch.org, upload your photo, and we’ll even help you identify your bee!