Biology and identification
Type of insect:
Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Arthropoda, Class Insecta, Order Hymenoptera, Family Apidae
How to identify it:
This key can help you identify species, but bees in this genus are easy to distinguish. They are large and look fluffy. Their back legs have little bucket structures for carrying pollen. Their antennae are elbowed. They can be many colors, but are most often black and yellow. Bombus vosnesenkii and Bombus californicus are both common in California gardens.
Gardener friend or foe?
Like other bees, these are helpful pollinators. Because they are bigger bees, they can warm up faster and are often seen flying before other bees.