How to Tell if a Bumble Bee Is Male or Female

As winter turns to spring and spring turns to summer, insects begin leaving their winter homes and become more prevalent in the outdoors. One of those insects is the bumblebee. Bumblebees are large, black and yellow insects, usually found in more temperate climates. Although the worker bumblebees along with the Queen have stingers, they are not as likely to use them compared to other types of bees. When identifying bumblebees, it is important to start out with whether the bee is female or male.

...
Bumblebees collect pollen from flowers in pollen baskets.

Step 1

Examine the bumblebee. Look at the abdominal section and count how many segments are present. Females have six segments while males have seven.

Step 2

Look at the head of the bee, specifically at the antennas. Count the number of segments on the antennas. Females have 12 segments on the antenna while males have 13.

Step 3

Check to see if the bee has a pollen basket near the back legs, which looks like a shiny segment that has long hairs and indicates a female bumblebee. Look for any yellow, red or orange pollen near the back legs if the pollen basket is full.

Step 4

Look at the legs of the bumblebee, noticing if the legs appear wider or smaller. Male legs are not as large as those of a female and have a hairy matte finish to their legs.