Vermont Bumblebee Survey

Rusty-patched Bumblebee (Bombus affinis)

Formerly common throughout eastern North America, but populations crashed in late 1990’s. Apparently extirpated from Vermont since about 1999, but a few populations still known from the Midwest. Queens emerge very early.

Select food plants: Helianthus (Sunflowers), Asters, Solidago (Goldenrods), Lonicera (Honeysuckles), Vaccinium,
Prunus, Aesculus. Occasionally robs nectar.

Tongue Length: short

Nest: underground

Parasitized by: B. ashtoni

Similar Species: B. citrinus, B. griseocollis, B. perplexus, B. vagans

General Phenology

queens: April - October
workers: June - October
males: July - October

Extreme Vermont Dates

queens: 1 May - 4 October
workers: 5 July - 10 October
males: 3 August - 23 October

Historic Records

affinis map


Encyclopedia of Life species account

Xerces Society species account and pocket ID card

Literature (Google Scholar Search)

Cameron, S. A., Lozier J. D., Strange J. P., Koch J. B., Cordes N., Solter L. F., et al. (2011). Patterns of widespread decline in North American bumble bees. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (U.S.A.). 108, 662-667.

Colla, S. R. (2010). COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee Bombus affinis in Canada. Ottawa, Canada: Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

Colla, S. R., & Packer L. (2008). Evidence for decline in eastern North American bumblebees (Hymenoptera: Apidae), with special focus on Bombus affinis Cresson. Biodiversity and Conservation. 17, 1379-1391.

Colla, S. R., Otterstatter M. C., Gegear R. J., & Thomson J. D. (2006). Plight of the bumblebee: Pathogen spillover from commercial to wild populations. Biological Conservation. 129, 461-467.

Evans, E., Thorp R., Jepsen S., & Black S. H. (2008). Status Review of Three Formerly Common Species of Bumble Bee in the Subgenus Bombus: Bombus affinis (the rusty patched bumble bee), B. terricola (the yellowbanded bumble bee), and B. occidentalis (the western bumble bee). Portland, Oregon (U.S.A.): The Xerces Society.




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