I hope so, and thank the zinnia for feeding those fuzzy-butt bees. I think this is a female Common Eastern Bumblebee, Bombus impatiens. It is big and fuzzy.
I was noticing the lack of bumblebees in the garden the last number of years and learned they are disappearing at an alarming rate.
In the image above if you click to see it bigger, I think the bee has mites. It was very uncoordinated as it went from flower to flower, appearing a bit sick.
Some bumblebees are no longer in their former territories. Not fully understood as to their disappearance, it is likely what you might have guessed – loss or fragmentation of habitat, pesticide use, overgrazing by livestock, competition with honey bees, climate change, low genetic diversity, and nonnative pathogens. No surprise there since it parallels honeybee decline.
Surprisingly, a long study done on bumblebees found some species plummeted by 96% while other species were doing very well (source). This is the puzzling part since they have no clue why some and not all. This is an article worth reading.
Bees are hard to identify since so many species of bee exists. Bumblebees especially have numerous members, yet six are most common.
If this is a sick bumblebee, I feel very bad for it since I rarely see them in the garden any longer. The garden gets a variety of bees, just not many bumblebees. They used to be very numerous too.
Just to further understand the loss and reason why, download the Conserving Bumble Bees. Guidelines for Creating and Managing Habitat for America’s Declining Pollinators from The Xerces Society. This is an informative paper. There is so many interesting facts on bumblebees – like bumblebees are able to fly in cooler temperatures and lower light levels than most other bees. This is really important for the variety of crop pollination and a longer growing season. They also mention how gardeners can help the bumblebees. If you care on what you will be eating in the future, you might consider helping out these native bees. See the garden coming up… In the Mix – Late July. But first, what is on the dill?
On Nature and Wildlife Pics are more and different bees I shot with a 105mm macro lens. See the sidebar for the link to that post.