California Bumble Bee


The California Bumble Bee (Bombus californicus) is native to California and is an important pollinator in alpine environments as well as an important pollinator of agricultural crops like cherries, apples, avocados, alfalfa, tomatoes, blueberries, and blackberries. They are social bees having a queen and workers. Their colonies last for one year. New queens overwinter, usually underground, and form new colonies from scratch the following year.

The California Bumble Bee is a large and very hairy bee with black and yellow bands. It was the most common bumble bee in California until about the 1990s when its numbers and distribution began to decline. Many factors may have contributed to its decline including invasive species, pesticide use, commercial bumble bee rearing, habitat destruction, and climate change.

Did you know? There are 450 species of bumble bees in the world, 40 species in North America, and 26 of these species can be found in California.

To learn more about the California Bumble Bee, visit the

PHOTO CREDIT: Ron Hemberger