We featured this bumble bee about a month ago, but not on a Trillium ovatum backdrop. These three-petaled beauties require the services of pollinators, like bumble bees and beetles, to produce seeds. The trillium flowers do not produce nectar, but do offer protein-rich pollen. They also require help from insects, specifically ants and wasps, to disperse their seeds. Tarn Ream explains, “each seed bears a conspicuous, yellow food-body, called an elaiosome, which is attractive to ants and yellow jackets. The insects transport seeds to their nests, eat the oily food-body and discard the seeds in their “dump,” which is a well-fertilized, safe site for germination.”
Nearctic Bumble Bees are common to very common in their range and feed on a variety of flowers. Their nests are usually built underground, but sometimes on the ground surface.
Size: Queens 15-19 mm in length, workers 8-14 mm
Photo by: Kelly Dix on 5/5/22 near Victor, MT