Bumblebee on Milkweed

f14 @ 1/400s, ISO:2000, Nikon D3S w 105mm macro

"Bumblebee," Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. A bumblebee is any of over 250 species in the genus Bombus, one of the bee families. This genus is the only extant group in the tribe Bombini. They are found primarily in higher altitudes or latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere, although they are also found in South America, where a few lowland tropical species have been identified. European bumblebees have also been introduced to New Zealand and Tasmania. Female bumblebees can sting repeatedly, but generally ignore humans and other animals. Most bumblebees are social insects that form colonies with a single queen. The colonies are smaller than those of honey bees, growing to as few as 50 individuals in a nest. Bumblebees have round bodies covered in soft hair (long branched setae) called 'pile', making them appear and feel fuzzy. They have aposematic (warning) coloration, often consisting of contrasting bands of color, and different species of bumblebee in a region often resemble each other in mutually protective Müllerian mimicry. Harmless insects such as hoverflies often derive protection from resembling bumblebees, in Batesian mimicry, and may be confused with them. Nest-making bumblebees can be distinguished from similarly large, fuzzy cuckoo bees by the form of the female hind leg. In nesting bumblebees, it is modified to form a pollen basket, a bare shiny area surrounded by a fringe of hairs used to transport pollen, whereas in cuckoo bees, the hind leg is hairy all round, and they never carry pollen.
Francis A. Crane Wildlife Management Area, East Falmouth, Massachusetts