lemon cuckoo bumble bee

(Bombus citrinus)

Conservation Status
lemon cuckoo bumble bee
Photo by Wayne Rasmussen
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

     
  NatureServe

N4N5 - Apparently Secure to Secure

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Lemon cuckoo bumble bee is a common, small, cuckoo bumble bee. The female has a black spot on the thorax and an entirely black abdomen. The male also has a black spot on the thorax but the first three abdominal segments are yellow.

The female (worker) bee is to 13 16 in total length and ¼ to wide at the abdomen. The head is covered with copious long, erect, black hairs. In the area between the large compound eyes (vertex) these are interspersed with short yellowish hairs. The hairs on the back of the head are yellow. The space between the lateral simple eyes (ocelli) and the margin of the vertex is two times that between the ocelli and the compound eyes. The first and third antennal segments are considerably longer than the second, which is slightly shorter than wide. The thorax is covered with dense, copious, yellow hairs except for a black spot in the center. The black spot is more or less bare and does not reach the base of the wings. The abdomen is entirely black, and is densely covered with short, erect, black hairs. The legs are mostly covered with black hairs except for pale hairs on the last foot (tarsal) segments, which have pale hairs. There is no pollen basket (corbicula).

The male bee is smaller, ½ to in total length and 3 16 to ½ wide at the abdomen. The first three segments of the abdomen are yellow, covered with dense, erect, yellow hairs.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Male: ½ to

Female: to 13 16

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

 

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

May to October

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

The lemon cuckoo bumble bee has no pollen baskets and does not collect pollen. It invades the nests of mostly common eastern bumble bee but also half-black bumble bee and two-spotted bumble bee. It kills the queen and usurps the colony and its worker bees.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

 

 
     
 

Larva Food

 
 

Larvae are fed both nectar for carbohydrates and pollen for protein.

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Adults feed mostly on nectar but also on some pollen.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 24, 29, 30.

 
  9/16/2020      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps, and sawflies)  
 

Suborder

Apocrita (wasps, ants and bees)  
 

Infraorder

Aculeata (ants, bees and stinging wasps)  
  Clade Anthophila  
 

Superfamily

Apoidea (apoid wasps, bees, sphecoid wasps)  
 

Family

Apidae (bumble bees, honey bees, and stingless bees)  
 

Subfamily

Apinae (honey, bumble, long-horned, orchid, and digger bees)  
 

Tribe

Bombini (bumble bees)  
 

Genus

Bombus (bumble bees)  
  Subgenus Psithyrus  
       
 

In the not-too-distant past, bumble bees were often placed in the in the subfamily Bombinae, and sometimes in the family Bombidae. Today, both of these terms are considered taxonomically invalid, though they can still be found in use on the Web.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

lemon cuckoo bumble bee

 
       

Bumble Bee or Bumblebee?

In common usage the word bumblebee is written at least as often as the as the term bumble bee. In scientific usage, however, there is a “correct” form. The rule is: if the second part of the term accurately reflects the organism’s identity then it should stand alone. If it does not, then it should be concatenated. In short, “If true, then two.”

The Entomological Society of America follows the convention suggested by R. E. Snodgrass, author of Anatomy of the Honey Bee, when assigning common names to insects. Snodgrass states, “If the insect is what the name implies, write the two words separately; otherwise run them together. Thus we have such names as house fly, blow fly and robber fly contrasted with dragonfly, caddisfly and butterfly, because the latter are not flies, just as an dandelion is not a lion and a silverfish is not a fish. The honey bee is an insect and is preeminently a bee; ‘honeybee’ is equivalent to ‘Johnsmith.’”

Glossary

Ocellus

Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.

 

Tarsus

The last two to five subdivisions of an insect’s leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. Plural: tarsi.

 

Vertex

The upper surface of an insect’s head between the compound eyes.

 

 

Bumble Bee Identification

Elaine Evans, a PhD candidate in the Department on Entomology at the University of Minnesota, the University of MN Bee Lab, and BefriendingBumblebees.com have published a handy identification chart of Minnesota bumble bees. Handy, that is, for entomologists. Indispensable for amateur naturalists in Minnesota or anyone wanting to identify the bumble bee in their photo. Click on the images below to download the PDFs.

 

Guide to MN Bumble Bees I
(Females)

Guide to MN Bumble Bees I (Females)

 

 

Guide to MN Bumble Bees II
(Males)

Guide to MN Bumble Bees II (Males)

 
 
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Wayne Rasmussen

 
 

Male lemon cuckoo bumble bee on butterfly milkweed

 
    lemon cuckoo bumble bee      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

 

 
           
           

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
Bombus citrinus
larry522
  Bombus citrinus  
Bombus citrinus
USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
  Bombus citrinus  
     

 

slideshow

       
 
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Other Videos
 
  B. citrinus
Joseph Napper
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 27, 2015

The Lemon Cuckoo Bumble Bee

 
       

 

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  Wayne Rasmussen
7/17/2016

Location: Joy Park

lemon cuckoo bumble bee  
           
 
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