Bombus terricola - Kirby, 1837
Yellow-banded Bumble Bee
Synonym(s): Bombus (Bombus) terricola Kirby, 1837
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Bombus terricola Kirby, 1837 (TSN 714843)
French Common Names: bourdon terricole
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.806567
Element Code: IIHYM24220
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Bumble Bees
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Hymenoptera Apidae Bombus
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Thorp, R. W., and M. D. Shepherd. 2005. Profile: Subgenus Bombus. In Shepherd, M. D., D. M. Vaughan, and S. H. Black (Eds). Red List of Pollinator Insects of North America. CD-ROM Version 1 (May 2005). Portland, OR: The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
Concept Reference Code: N05THO01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Bombus (Bombus) terricola
Taxonomic Comments: Subgenus: Bombus.

Of the five exclusively North American species of subgenus Bombus, four of them are generally accepted as full species. However, some authors consider the fifth, B. occidentalis, to be a subspecies of B. terricola (e.g. Williams, 2008), but this is not accepted by other experts (e.g. Thorp, 2005, Rao and Stephan, 2007). Williams et al. (2012) provide strong evidence that these are separate species.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 22May2017
Global Status Last Changed: 22May2017
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: In the 1990s, this was a common, widespread bumble bee in eastern and central North America but it has suffered a serious decline since about 2003 over much of its southern and eastern range. However, it has a broad range across the boreal and taiga regions of Canada, where it is (anecdotally at least) still common. In the eastern United States, it is still found regularly in and east of Vermont, and still occurs in the Great Smoky Mountains, but recent records elsewhere in the eastern United States and Canada are few. The trends in the western boreal part of its range in Canada are not known, but it remains common in the southeastern Yukon and southwestern Northwest Territories, so it seems likely that large declines have not occurred there.
 

Nation: United States
National Status: NU (21Jun2010)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (15Jun2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alaska (SNR), Connecticut (S1), Illinois (SX), Indiana (SH), Maine (SU), Maryland (S1), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNR), Minnesota (SNR), Nebraska (SNR), New Hampshire (SNR), New York (S1), Pennsylvania (SNR), Vermont (S2S3), Virginia (SU), Wisconsin (S1)
Canada Alberta (S5), British Columbia (S3S4), Labrador (SU), Manitoba (S4S5), New Brunswick (S3?), Newfoundland Island (S3S4), Northwest Territories (SNR), Nova Scotia (S3), Ontario (S5), Prince Edward Island (S3), Quebec (SNR), Saskatchewan (S5)

Other Statuses

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Special Concern (01May2015)
Comments on COSEWIC: Reason for designation: This bee has an extensive distribution in Canada, ranging from the Island of Newfoundland and the Maritime provinces, west to eastern British Columbia, and north into the Northwest Territories and extreme southwestern Yukon. Perhaps 50-60% of the global range of this species occurs in Canada. This species was historically one of the most common bumble bee species in Canada within its range. However, while this species remains relatively abundant in the northern part of its range, it has recently declined by at least 34% in areas of southern Canada. Causes for declines remain unclear, yet pesticide use, habitat conversion, and pathogen spill over from managed bumble bee colonies are suspected contributing factors.

Status history: Designated Special Concern in May 2015.

IUCN Red List Category: VU - Vulnerable

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Ranges throughout much of the northern and mountain forests of North America, from the taiga of Labrador south through the Appalachians to North Carolina and Tennessee, and in the west from the Northwest Territories south through central British Columbia to the mountains of northern Utah. (Williams et al., 2012).  Its range has contracted in the south and east in the last 20 years or so; in a study of more than 16,000 bumblebees collected in the United States in 2007-2009, Bombus terricola was found at only nine sites (in North Carolina, Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania and South Dakota), and the quantified range reduction compared to historical records was estimated at 31% (Cameron et al. 2011). However, this study only estimated the range within the United States; the vast northern range probably remains intact.

Area of Occupancy: Unknown 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: See range extent comments. Originally tens of thousands at least, but far fewer now (Evans et al., 2008). 

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Many to very many (41 to >125)
Viability/Integrity Comments: Although many occurrences in the south may be in jeopardy, those in the vast northern portion of its range are undoubtedly healthy. A recent study in New Hampshire (Tucker and Rehan 2017) discovered that Bombus terricola made up 40% of the bumble bees sampled in the White Mountain National Forest, so it seems that this bee is still doing well in wilder, higher places, even in the eastern United States. 

Overall Threat Impact: Medium - low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Like other declining bumblebees, the main cause is thought to be pathogen spillover of an imported microsporidian (Nosema bombi) and an imported protozoan parasite (Crithidia bombi) from domesticated bumblebees (Bombus impatiens, B. occidentalis) that were reared in Europe and returned to the U.S for greenhouse pollination (e.g. Committee on Status of Pollinators, 2007, Colla and Packer, 2008, Evans et al., 2008) and references reviewed in all). While effects of the N. bombi are sub-lethal and sometimes quite mild for B. impatiens and some other bumblebees, impacts to subgenus Bombus appear to often be severe. The mite Locustacarum buckneri and the honeybee deformed wing virus may also be contributing to decline. There are probably other threats at least in some places such as land use changes and other forms of habitat loss, changes in nectar flora etc. A potentially serious threat might be novel pesticides, especially new persistent neonicotinoids (Colla and Packer, 2008), but more evidence is needed, and this seems inconsistent with findings that some bumblebee species are stable or increasing. The consensus seems to be that the above pathogens and parasites, perhaps especially an introduced Nosema strain, are probably the main causes of the very recent drastic decline. However, Sokolova et al. (2010) question this and suggest there may also be very closely related native North American Nosema and a less virulent native Nosema would be among the more plausible explanations for the high and moderate parasitism rates found by Koch (2011) among two species of subgenus Bombus in Alaska where both remain common. In a plausible worst case scenario some or all North American species of subgenus Bombus could be extinct within a decade or two, and one (B. franklini) may be already. Whatever the reason why the B. lucorum complex and B. occidentalis are persisting in Alaska and other far northern regions, its should be noted that B. terricola does not range nearly that far north. However, B. terricola so far is persisting widely at reduced levels in northern New England and probably far eastern Canada, and may be currently stable or increasing in that region, so it is possible threats are not as severe there, or perhaps one or more of the pathogens may not be fully established yet. Climate change is a threat in the southern mountains, where the species occurs mostly at higher elevations (above 1200 meters), and so could become restricted to higher elevations, and along the in southern edge of the range. On the other hand, there is probably potential for this bee to expand farther north in Canada as the climate there warms.

Short-term Trend: Decline of 30-70%
Short-term Trend Comments: This species is severely declining in at least the southern parts of its range, and is possibly declining in range extent. Colla and Packer (2008)  did not find the species in southern Ontario, and Williams et al. (2009) assign it a moderately high decline measure there. Evans et al. (2008) documented recent and concurrent declines elsewhere. Bombus terricola was the only one of 13 non-parasitic bumblebee species documented from the area 100 years earlier that Kearns and Oliveras (2009) did not find from 2001-2005 in the vicinity of Boulder, Colorado. Cameron et al. (2011) documented an approximate 90% decline in relative abundance from historical times in the United States, and COSEWIC (2015) estimated a decline of about 65% in relative abundance over the decade 2004-2013 for southern Canada. The decline may be less severe or even nonexistent in northern regions and at high elevations; Tucker and Rehan (2017) found Bombus terricola to be the most abundant bumble bee in the White Mountain National Forest of New Hampshire, and casual collections in the far northwest show that this species remains abundant in parts of the southern Northwest Territories and southeastern Yukon (COSEWIC 2015). In summary, recent declines may range from as much as 90% in the eastern United States to 65% across southern Canada, to negligible in the northern parts of the species' range. Averaged overall, then, the short-term decline may be on the order of 45-55%.

Long-term Trend: Decline of 50-90%

Environmental Specificity: Broad. Generalist or community with all key requirements common.
Environmental Specificity Comments: This was a common generalized bumblebee in most of temperate eastern North America.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Continued and expanded inventory is needed to establish the presence/absence and status of this species throughout its broad range.

Distribution
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Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) Ranges throughout much of the northern and mountain forests of North America, from the taiga of Labrador south through the Appalachians to North Carolina and Tennessee, and in the west from the Northwest Territories south through central British Columbia to the mountains of northern Utah. (Williams et al., 2012).  Its range has contracted in the south and east in the last 20 years or so; in a study of more than 16,000 bumblebees collected in the United States in 2007-2009, Bombus terricola was found at only nine sites (in North Carolina, Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania and South Dakota), and the quantified range reduction compared to historical records was estimated at 31% (Cameron et al. 2011). However, this study only estimated the range within the United States; the vast northern range probably remains intact.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, CT, ILextirpated, IN, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, NE, NH, NY, PA, VA, VT, WI
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, ON, PE, QC, SK

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
MI Barry (26015), Kalkaska (26079)
NY Albany (36001), Essex (36031), Franklin (36033)
VT Chittenden (50007), Washington (50023), Windham (50025), Windsor (50027)
WI Ashland (55003), Forest (55041), Grant (55043)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Black-Ottauquechee (01080106)+, Deerfield (01080203)+
02 Upper Hudson (02020001)+, Middle Hudson (02020006)+
04 Peshtigo (04030105)+, Thornapple (04050007)+, Manistee (04060103)+, St. Regis (04150306)+, Winooski River (04150403)+, Ausable River (04150404)+, Lamoille River (04150405)+
07 Upper Chippewa (07050001)+, Apple-Plum (07060005)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Biological Research Needs: Expanded, scientific monitoring of this and other bumble bee species is important in order to establish defensible, range-wide estimates of population trends.
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 04Jun2017
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Cannings, S.; Schweitzer, D.F.; Capuano, N.A.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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