University of Maryland Extension

Bumble Bees

nectaring bumble bee
Bumble bee
Photo: David Cappaert,

Key Points

  • Bumble bees are 1/4 to 1 inch long, robust, black and yellow in color and have a fuzzy abdomen.
  • They resemble carpenter bees, but the top of the abdomen is bare and shiny on carpenter bees. 
  • Bumble bees are social insects and live in colonies. They usually nest in an underground cavity or in a clump of grass. Nests are small and rarely seen. 
  • Bumble bees are important pollinators that feed on nectar and pollen.
  • They are quite docile and very rarely sting. 


  • Bumble bee populations are in decline and should be protected and encouraged. We do not recommend spraying. 

Additional Resource

Rev. 2020

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