Rhode Island State Insect
Yellow-banded Bumblebee (common name)
Bombus terricola (scientific name)
A northeastern bee characterized by its distinct band of yellowish-brown hairs, the yellow-banded bumblebee was once widely distributed in the upper Midwest and eastern regions of United States, as well as large parts of southern Canada. The queen and workers have a yellow band on the thorax as well as on the second and third abdominal segments. A small patch of yellow is also present on the fringe of the fifth abdominal segment, while the head, legs, and the remaining segments are all black. Males are similar except for a tuft of yellow hair on the top of their heads and faces. The population of the species has declined sharply in some of its former range as a result of habitat loss, pesticides, climate change, competing species, and diseases spread by commercially reared bumblebees.
Queen:1.5–1.7 inch (4–4.5 cm)
Worker:1–1.3 inch (2.5–3.5 cm)
Queen:0.6–0.7 inch (1.7–1.9 cm)
Male:0.5–0.6 inch (1.3–1.7 cm)
Worker:03–0.5 inch (0.9–1.4 cm)
Larvae: White maggot-looking larvae without eyes or legs. Comprised of 13 segments, each of which has a pair of spiracles for respiration.
The queen can live up to a year, a worker up to 13 days, and males live from the summer to the fall.
Edge of forests, grasslands, and open flower-rich meadows.
Range: Significant populations exist in the northeastern U.S., southeastern California, and southeastern British Columbia.
Flight period: The queen overwinters and starts her nest-building activity and foraging in March or early April. During the breeding phase, she remains confined to the nest. The flight period of the males and workers extends throughout their adult life.
Conservation status: Severe collapses in certainly regions and overall declines.
These social insects form colonies of about 50 individuals. The nest is not as highly organized as that of honeybees, and is built by a single female on the ground within tunnels made by rodents or other animals. The female usually starts nest building after emerging from hibernation. She also prepares wax pots to keep her eggs and store food.
One of the most striking behaviors of the bumblebee is "buzz pollination" or "sonication." The bee performs this act by grabbing the flower in its mouth and vibrating its flight muscles to release the pollen from the anther of the flower. This is particularly useful in flowers whose anthers have minute holes that make it difficult to dislodge the pollen, like peppers, tomatoes, blueberries, and cranberries. The bees unique ability to vibrate their flight muscles also helps to generate heat so that bumblebees can get airborne at lower temperatures compared to other species of bees.
Adults: They are generalist foragers, feeding on nectar and pollen from a variety of plants.
Larvae: Pollen is the primary food with small amounts of nectar eaten as well.
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|Author: World Trade Press|