The following species, when they show red, have it on the middle part of their abdomen–rather than at the hind end.
- Black tail bumble bee, Bombus melanopygus
- Central bumble bee, Bombus centralis
- Hunt bumble bee, Bombus huntii
- Red-belted bumble bee, Bombus rufocinctus
- Vancouver bumble bee, Bombus vancouverensis
- Two form bumble bee, Bombus bifarius (some east side forms)
- Yellow head bumble bee, Bombus flavifrons (some forms)
- Forest bumble bee, Bombus sylvicola (high elevation)
A representative photo of each species is below.
Go to the individual species pages to get more details.
The key field marks for a Black tail bumble bee are a cloudy front thorax, T1 yellow, T2 and T3 red (orange) and T4 black with a row of white hairs.
The Central bumble bee is primarily an east side species. The red on a centralis is on T3 and T4. Scutum is yellow, not cloudy
The Hunt bumble bee has a yellow scutum, T1 yellow, T2 and T3 red, T4 yellow.
A big clue that this is a Vancouver bumble bee is where you spotted it. If you are not in the San Juans, then this might not be what you saw.
Similar to the Two form bumble bee, this species has an inverted black triangle below the wings pointed to the abdomen. T1 yellow, T2 and T3 show red, T4 yellow.
The Two form bumble bee also shows a distinctive inverted black triangle below the center of the wings, pointing to the abdomen. We have tried to make the design into a thong, to help with the memory thing. Two form bumble bees (and their cousins the Vancouver bumble) wear thongs. There. I said it. Let’s see if you remember!
Most Yellow head bumble bees have black on T4 and T5, but some populations in Washington show some orange on T4. They usually also show a cloudy scutum.
The Forest bumble bee is similar to the Black tail bumble and the Hunt bumble. In contrast to the Black tail, the Forest bumble has a yellow (not cloudy) scutum.
In contrast to the Hunt bumble, the Forest Bumble is a high elevation specialist. The Hunt bumble is more likely found on the east side in relatively dry terrain. One such spot is the Dry Falls State Park.