Identification of a Bumblebee With a Red Stripe


With more than 250 species, bumblebees---bees of the genus Bombus---can be challenging to identify. Some types' distinctive markings include a stripe or patch of orange, red or rust. Final identification also depends on geography and sex.


  • Bumblebees are best known for black and yellow coloration, but they may also have white, brown or reddish areas on their bodies. Many species have a red stripe, so their identification can be difficult.

One Mid-Abdomen Segment

  • Bumblebees with a red stripe in the middle of the abdomen include B. affinis and B. rufocinctus. B. bifarius has a lengthwise black streak crossing its red stripe.

Multiple Red Segments

  • Some bumblebees have more than one red-colored mid-abdomen segment, including B. appositus, B. borealis, B. huntii, B. melanopygus and B. ternarius.

End of Abdomen Red

  • Species whose "tail" or end of the abdomen is red include B. centralis, B. flavifrons (two red segments each; B. flavifrons has a darker face) and B. frigidus. B. crotchii and B. sandersoni have at least two possible patterns, one with a red "tail" and one with no red.

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  • Photo Credit Hummel image by Arnd Hertel from
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