Bombus fervidus - (Fabricius, 1798)
Yellow Bumble Bee
Other English Common Names: Golden Northern Bumble Bee
Synonym(s): Bombus (Thoracobombus) californicus Smith, 1854 ;Bombus (Thoracobombus) fervidus (Fabricius, 1798) ;Bombus fervida (Fabricius, 1798)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Bombus fervidus (Fabricius, 1798) (TSN 714802)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.106721
Element Code: IIHYM24110
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: Williams, P. H. 2008a. Bombus, bumblebees of the world. Web pages based on Williams, P.H. 1998. An annotated checklist of bumblebees with an analysis of patterns of description (Hymenoptera: Apidae, Bombini). Bulletin of the Natural History Museum (Entomology) 67:79-152. Online. Available: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/research/projects/bombus/index.html. Accessed 2008-Oct.
Concept Reference Code: W08WIL01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Bombus (Thoracobombus) fervidus
Taxonomic Comments: Subgenus: Thoracobombus. B. fervidus and B. californicus are considered conspecific (Williams et al. 2014).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 07Apr2018
Global Status Last Changed: 07Apr2018
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Although the range extent of this wide-ranging species has not contracted very much, there have been significant declines in the number of occurrences and area of occupancy. More worrisome is that it shows a consistent pattern of decline in relative abundance since 1900. IUCN has assessed this species as Vulnerable.
Nation: United States
National Status: N4? (14Jun2010)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (09Feb2017)

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 Alabama (SNR), Arizona (SNR), Arkansas (S1), California (SNR), Colorado (SNR), Connecticut (SNR), Delaware (SNR), District of Columbia (SNR), Georgia (SNR), Idaho (S5), Illinois (SNR), Indiana (S3), Iowa (SNR), Kansas (SNR), Kentucky (SNR), Louisiana (SNR), Maine (SU), Maryland (SNR), Massachusetts (S2S3), Michigan (SNR), Minnesota (SNR), Missouri (S1), Montana (SNR), Nebraska (SNR), Nevada (SNR), New Hampshire (SNR), New Jersey (SNR), New Mexico (SNR), New York (S1), North Carolina (SNR), North Dakota (SNR), Ohio (SNR), Oregon (S4?), Pennsylvania (SNR), Rhode Island (SNR), South Carolina (SNR), South Dakota (SNR), Tennessee (SNR), Texas (SNR), Utah (SNR), Vermont (S1S2), Virginia (SNR), Washington (S4?), West Virginia (SNR), Wisconsin (S2), Wyoming (SNR)
Canada Alberta (SNR), British Columbia (SNR), Manitoba (S3S5), New Brunswick (SU), Newfoundland Island (SNR), Nova Scotia (S4), Ontario (S3S4), Prince Edward Island (S4S5), Quebec (SNA), Saskatchewan (SNR)

Other Statuses

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Candidate (Medium) (10Jul2017)
IUCN Red List Category: VU - Vulnerable

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: This bumble bee is widespread across much of the mid-latitudes of the continent, from the Canadian Maritimes, northeastern United States south through the mountains to Georgia, to Nebraska and northern Arkansas in the Midwest, and west to the mountains of Arizona, and to the coast in California, Washington and southern British Columbia. This species is also present in Mexico (Williams et al. 2014).

The historical range extent of this species is estimated at 13,577,058 km², and the extent of current (2008-2017) observations is 11,005,906 km². Controlling for larger historical sample size, the range of this species has declined by an estimated 16%.

Area of Occupancy: 501-2,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: Considering all available historical data, the historical (i.e., observations before 2008) Area of Occupancy for this species was 13,468 km². The recent period AOO is 4,856 km², a decline of 49% when controlling for larger historical sample size.

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: In the recent period (2008-2017), 707 occurrences (i.e., observations separated from others by >5 km) of this species have been reported, a 54% decline over historical occurrences when controlling for larger historical sample size.

Population Size: Unknown
Population Size Comments: It is not possible to estimate this parameter for bumble bee populations.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Unknown

Overall Threat Impact: Very high - medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: The following is largely adapted from Hatfield et al 2015:

Threats to this declining species are not well understood, and most likely vary across its large range.

Pathogen Spillover: Gillespie (2010) found B. fervidus and B. pensylvanicus to be among the most uncommon species in Massachusetts but with significantly higher levels of Nosema bombi (but not other parasites) compared to the common species. Nosema bombi is known to spillover from managed bumble bees (Colla et al. 2006) and may be implicated in declines. A landscape-scale analysis found that greater usage of the fungicide chlorothalonil was a strong predictor of Nosema bombi prevalence in four species of bumble bees (B. occidentalis, B. pensylvanicus, B. affinis and B. terricola) that are known to be experiencing range contractions (McArt et al. 2017).

Habitat loss: open grassland, old fields, and tallgrass habitats are likely the most suitable habitat types for this species in its range. This habitat type is of conservation concern and exists only in small remnants. In a survey performed in Iowa, Hines and Hendrix (2005) found higher abundance and diversity of bumble bees in high quality tallgrass prairie sites, depending on quality of the surrounding landscape. Landscape quality was assessed as the diversity and abundance of floral resources at various radii from the survey site. High quality sites with higher bumble bee diversity also contained B. fervidus, indicating this species may be more susceptible to environmental stressors, such as habitat loss (Hines and Hendrix 2005). Bumble bee diversity was found to be best predicted by high floral resource availability in surrounding grasslands (Hines and Hendrix 2005).

Agricultural activity intensification leads to loss of this habitat type. Pesticide use can also impact this species occurring on or near agriculture. Limited to above ground nesting in natural grasslands or agricultural fields, this species is susceptible to habitat loss or direct exposure to pesticides. In some cases, farmers may kill bumble bee colonies when they nest above ground (frequent among many species of the subgenus Thoracobombus) because they impact cattle and other domestic livestock. The long-tongue of this species restricts its foraging to certain flower types (e.g. legumes). Conversion in agricultural farmland from the use of nitrogen-fixing legumes to artificial fertilizers may further decrease available forage.

A meta-analysis across bumble bee faunas in three continents found species with late emergence (like B. fervidus) are more vulnerable to stressors (Williams et al. 2009). Natural wildfires and prescribed burning may benefit bees by creating open forage in otherwise unsuitable habitat. As such, the suppression of natural fires can result in habitat loss for bees and other grassland species, particularly in forested regions. In light of this, prescribed burning is frequently used as a conservation management tool to restore natural ecosystems (e.g. grasslands), increase biodiversity (particularly plant species), and control invasive species (e.g. Brockway et al. 2002, Hatch et al. 1999). However, depending on fire intensity, duration, season, frequency, and patchiness, prescribed fire may result in population loss for pollinators, particularly at sites where few individuals of a species exist (e.g. Swengel 1996). As such, both fire suppression and fire itself may threaten this species in some areas.

Reduced genetic diversity resulting from any of these threats can be particularly concerning for bumble bees, since their method of sex-determination can be disrupted by inbreeding, and since genetic diversity already tends to be low in this group due to the colonial life cycle (i.e. large numbers of bumble bees found locally may represent only one or a few queens) (Goulson 2010, Hatfield et al. 2012, but see Cameron et al. 2011 and Lozier et al. 2011).

Short-term Trend: Unknown
Short-term Trend Comments: The available collections and observational data do not allow us to estimate short-term (2008-2017) trends for this species. However, due to its large historic range and conflicting evidence as to whether it is declining or persisting (see long-term trend), additional research is needed in this area.

Long-term Trend: Decline of 70-80%
Long-term Trend Comments: B. fervidus shows a consistent pattern of declines in relative abundance since 1900, and there is a highly significant negative correlation between relative abundance and decade (R² = 0.68, P = 0.0009). Relative abundance in recent collections (2008-2017) has declined 70% from historic highs, or 59% when compared to long term averages.

There is some evidence for recent decline in all North American species of subgenus Thoracobombus and two congenerics are regarded as vulnerable (Committee on the Status of Pollinators, 2007, Appendix E). Eastern North America B. fervidus populations are reportedly in decline in a number of places, including Ontario (Colla and Packer 2008; Williams et al. 2009), Michigan (Tuell et al. 2008), Massachusetts and Vermont (Richardson, unpublished), and Maine (Maine Bumble Bee Atlas, unpublished).

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Not intrinsically vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Broad. Generalist or community with all key requirements common.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) This bumble bee is widespread across much of the mid-latitudes of the continent, from the Canadian Maritimes, northeastern United States south through the mountains to Georgia, to Nebraska and northern Arkansas in the Midwest, and west to the mountains of Arizona, and to the coast in California, Washington and southern British Columbia. This species is also present in Mexico (Williams et al. 2014).

The historical range extent of this species is estimated at 13,577,058 km², and the extent of current (2008-2017) observations is 11,005,906 km². Controlling for larger historical sample size, the range of this species has declined by an estimated 16%.

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 AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, MB, NB, NF, NS, ON, PE, QCexotic, SK

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AR Boone (05009), Franklin (05047)
NY Bronx (36005), Kings (36047), Monroe (36055), New York (36061), Queens (36081), Richmond (36085), Suffolk (36103)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Lower Hudson (02030101)+, Bronx (02030102)+, Sandy Hook-Staten Island (02030104)+, Southern Long Island (02030202)+
04 Oak Orchard-Twelvemile (04130001)+, Lower Genesee (04130003)+, Irondequoit-Ninemile (04140101)+
11 Bull Shoals Lake (11010003)+, Frog-Mulberry (11110201)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: It sometimes nests underground, but mostly nests on the surface or aboveground in tall grass, hay stacks or in deserted mouse nests; males congregate outside nest entrances in search of mates (Williams et al. 2014).
Habitat Type: Terrestrial
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cropland/hedgerow, Old field, Suburban/orchard, Urban/edificarian
Habitat Comments: Typical habitats include open farmland and fields, urban parks, and gardens (Williams et al. 2014).
Food Comments: A long-tongued, later emerging species; food plants include Astragalus, Cirsium, Helianthus, Lonicera, Lythrum, Monarda, Pedicularis, Penstemon, Trifolium, and Vicia (Williams et al. 2014).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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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: 07Apr2018
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Schweitzer, D.F. and Capuano, N.A. (2009); Richardson, L.L. (2018)

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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