Cabin Country – Mowing and Ground Bees

We’ve been having a lot of storms this summer, so mowing has become a game of Pick-Up-Sticks.

Last weekend, I gave up and started raking all the twigs before mowing each section of the yard. When I reached lake-side, I noticed something fly past me and then disappear INTO THE GROUND. I watched for a bit to be sure that I could locate the opening and marked it with a twig.
Mowing stopped.

Today I finally decided to tackle the side-yard and then try lake-side again. I watched some of the workers fly in and out as I tried to decide what exactly they were.
Last weekend I watched black and white paper wasps/hornets flying around the yard as I mowed.
Today’s critters looked like BEES to me.
I came in and did some digging and Googled, “Ground Bees.”
Most results said that “Ground Bees” were actually yellow jacket wasps.
I looked at several websites comparing Bees to Wasps.
This image from sheboygan was the best for comparison.
Note that Bees have a furry appearance and wasps have a glossy hard body.
Identifying Bees and Wasps
I went out and double checked the critters that I saw flying into the hole in the ground.
These were fuzzy, OK they are BEES. The orange color on their bodies confused me. These were not ordinary bumble bees.
I read-up on how to mow around them. I put on a long sleeved shirt as a precaution and mowed as close I could to them. One did come flying by my head when I started to get close to their home. So there is a section of yard that won’t get mowed for a while.

They appear to be some kind of bumble bee. Checking the inter-web I found similarly colored bees.
I think that I have a colony of orange-belted bumble bees.
Wikipedia – (Bombus ternarius)

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I had a hard time catching the bees with my camera.
The image at the top of my post is wonderful! It shows how fuzzy the bees are and a close up of the coloring. Image credit goes to this blog which contains the photo credited to Christine Hanrahan. Flying_home2wg