Bumble Bees of Montana
Bombus (Alpinobombus) kirbiellus Dahlbom, 1832 High Country Bumble Bee
Bombus kirbiellus is an uncommon bumble bee in North America where it inhabits the highest elevations of the Rocky Mountains from Colorado and New Mexico north to Alaska and northern Canada (Williams et al. 2014). In Montana, it has been collected at many high elevation sites, including Logan Pass (2,028m) and Jackson Glacier (2,181m) in Glacier National Park, the Flint Creek Mountains (2,590m) in Granite County, Big Snowy Peak (2,530m) in Fergus County, the Beartooth-Absaroka Mountains (~3,000m) in Carbon County, and the Limestone Hills (1,470m) in Broadwater County (Map 5).
Recorded Montana Distribution
Bombus kirbiellus can be identified by its longer-than-wide cheek, black hairs on the face, yellow hairs on abdominal T1 and T2, and orange or pale orange hairs on T4-T6. It is only known from high elevations.
This species is most easily confused with B. frigidus, which has a very similar color pattern, but B. frigidus has a cheek that is about as long as it is wide.