Date of this Version



University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension EC 00-1564-S


© Copyright by the University of Nebraska, 2000


Why Bumble Bees Are Important

Capturing Bumble Bees

Making a Reference Collection

The Bee Family Tree

The Bumble Bee Family Tree

Bumble Bee Mimics

How to Use the Identification Guide

Bee Identification Guide

Checklist of Nebraska Species

External Morphology of Bumble Bees


Additional Resources

About Bumble Boosters

Data Sheet for Collection Specimens

For most people, pollen means allergies and bees mean stings. However, you should thank a bee, butterfly, bat, bird, or other pollinator for one out of every three bites of food you eat. Pollination is the transfer of pollen from one flower to another. It is a critical step in fruit and seed production. Some plants produce generous quantities of pollen and rely on the wind to transfer pollen. Many plant species, however, produce smaller amounts of pollen and have elaborate mechanisms to attract pollinators. There are 95 crops grown in the United States that require insect pollinators. In addition, many bee-pollinated plants provide food for wildlife, increase soil fertility, and beautify our landscapes. In an era when human activities have reduced nesting habitat and forage plants, we need to consider the impact we have on plant/pollinator relationships. Pollinators are a critical link in the ecosystems of both wild and agricultural lands and play an important role in the interconnectedness of life in general. Bumble bees are a great place to begin. They are beautiful native insects whose distribution and abundance can be nurtured by providing suitable nesting habitat and forage plants.