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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

  • Home - Other Field Guides
    • Kingdom - Animals - Animalia
      • Phylum - Spiders, Insects, and Crustaceans - Arthropoda
        • Class - Insects - Insecta
          • Order - Sawflies / Wasps / Bees / Ants - Hymenoptera
            • Family - Bumble, Honey, Carpenter, Stingless, & Orchid Bees - Apidae
              • Species - Hunt's Bumble Bee - Bombus huntii
Hunt's Bumble Bee - Bombus huntii
Other Names:  Pyrobombus huntii

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status


External Links

General Description
For definitions and diagrams of bumble bee morphology please see the Montana State Entomology Collection's Bumble Bee Morphology page. A medium-tongued, medium-sized bumble bee: queens 19-20 mm in length, workers 11-14 mm. Hair short and even; head length medium with cheek as long as wide; mid-leg basitarsus back far corner rounded, hind-leg tibia outer surface flat and hairless (except black fringe hairs) forming pollen basket; hair of face and top of head predominantly yellow; upper side of thorax yellow anterior and posterior to black band between wing bases; T1 yellow, T2-3 red to orange, T4 yellow, T5-6 black. Males 9-13 mm in length; eyes similar in size and shape to eyes of any female bumble bee; antennae of medium length, flagellum 2.5-3X longer than scape; hair color pattern similar to queens and workers, but the upper side of thorax often with many yellow hairs intermixed with black in the band between the wings (Koch et al. 2012, Williams et al. 2014).

Across the range, queens and workers reported March to October, males April to November (Williams et al. 2014). In California, queens reported late March to late September, workers late May to early October, males late May to late October (Thorp et al. 1983); in Utah, queens March to early August, workers March to late September, males May to late October (Koch et al. 2012).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Please see the Montana State Entomology Collection's Key to Female Bumble Bees in Montana. Females told from other Montana Bombus by a combination of outer surface of hind-leg tibia concave and hairless (except fringe), forming pollen basket; T2-3 red or orange, possibly with yellow hairs intermixed in the middle; scutum in front of wing bases predominantly yellow or pale yellow hair; cheek as long as wide; face with yellow hairs at least centrally; scutellum with yellow hairs only.

Species Range
Resident Year Round

Recorded Montana Distribution

Click the map for additional distribution information.
Distributional Information Provided in Collaboration with the
Montana Entomology Collection at Montana State University


Range Comments
Western North America, from southern British Columbia east through Saskatchewan, south through the Black Hills and between the Great Plains and the Sierra Nevada Mountains to southern Arizona and New Mexico, and into Mexico (Williams et al. 2014). In Colorado, reported mostly 1600-2400 m elevation, but to 4100 m (Macior 1974, Miller-Struttmann and Galen 2014); at 3050-3300 m in subalpine meadows iof northeastern Utah (Bowers 1985); to 2785 m in the White Mountains of California (Thorp et al. 1983).

High desert shrub, grassland and mixed prairie, irrigated prairie and riparian woodland, prairie parkland, sagebrush shrubsteppe, subalpine forest meadows, rarely above treeline in alpine tundra (Hobbs 1967, Macior 1974, Bowers 1985, Cook et al. 2011, Miller-Struttmann and Galen 2014, Williams et al. 2014).
Predicted Suitable Habitat Model

This species has a Predicted Suitable Habitat Model available.

To learn how these Models were created see

Food Habits
Feeds on a variety of flowers, including Allium, Artemisia, Asclepias, Astragalus, Caragana, Chrysothamnus, Cirsium, Cleome, Daucus, Dodecatheon, Ericameria, Erigeron, Eriogonum, Gutierrezia, Helianthus, Hydrophyllum, Iris, Linaria, Lupinus, Medicago, Melilotus, Mentha, Mentzelia, Mertensia, Penstemon, Phacelia, Prunus, Ribes, Rosa, Rudbeckia, Salix, Sedum, Senecio, Solidago, Symphyotrichum, Taraxacum, Thermopsis, Trifolium and Vicia (Macior 1974, Thorp et al. 1983, Koch et al. 2012, Williams et al. 2014, Miller-Struttmann and Galen 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Nests mostly underground. 90.3% of 31 hives built underground in southern Alberta, the remainder on the ground surface; most nests established mid- to late May. Mean numbers of eggs, larvae, and pupae in first broods were 9.3, 8.2, and 9.4 respectively; mean number of eggs laid per cell of second and third broods was 3.6. Largest hives contained up to 531 cocoons (Hobbs 1967). A nest in New Mexico in early August contained 515 workers, one queen, 709 empty worker cocoons, 101 larvae, 119 queen pupae, 117 worker pupae, and 308 eggs in the brood mass; the nest was build on the ground in an old woodrat nest of shredded wood fiber under a storage shed floorboard (Medler 1959).

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Citation for data on this website:
Hunt's Bumble Bee — Bombus huntii.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from