Actual Size: ¾” –  1”

Characteristics: Hairy round body, black usually with yellow or white bands

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Often nest in the ground but also in soffits or attics. They can be seen around patio areas or decks.


  • Bumblebees are capable of stinging repeatedly but rarely do so
  • They are considered important pollinators
  • Live in much smaller colonies than other bees

Bumblebees in The North Bay and East Bay Area

Bumblebees are social bees with small nests that usually are less than 50 in number. This makes them much smaller than most bee colonies. Except for the queen, all bees in the nest will die at the end of the season. Bumblebees can sting, however, they are very unlikely stingers. The effect of their sting varies based upon the victim. Bumblebees do not fly with great finesse or accuracy. They are able to get from point A to B but are clumsy and slow.

They are the second-largest contributors to the pollination of wildflowers after honey bees. They are a crucial part of our environment as important pollinators. Bumblebees are large insects ranging from about 1 to 1½ inches and their flight produces a very startling buzz that is much deeper and louder than other common flying insects. They have fuzzy bodies covered in with dense branched setae (hairs).

Bumblebee Habitat

Most bumblebees nest in the ground, using deserted rodent burrows and shallow cavities excavated beneath patio stones, landscaping timber, piles of compost, and within dense patches of grass. Above ground, they will occupy abandoned bird nests and fiberglass-insulated structural voids associated with outside walls, patio roofing, and decks. Each colony has just one queen in the nest.

Bumblebee Behaviors — Threats — Dangers

Bumblebees tend to keep to themselves and are not a huge threat to humans. Most stings happen when their nest is disturbed. Only female bumblebees sting and unlike honey bees, they can sting more than once. Bumblebees can sting multiple times, but they do not form swarms like honey bees.The pain from a bumblebee sting is less painful than a honey bee sting, however, a sting can be dangerous if it occurs on the head or neck, or if an individual is allergic to their venom.

If you are dealing with a bumblebee problem in or near your Bay Area property, always contact licensed bee control experts.