Share your observations

Share your observations of plants or non-game animals with the Natural Heritage Inventory

Rare animals
Find rare and non-game animals.
Rare plants
Learn about plants on the Natural Heritage Working List.
Rare lichens
Discover Wisconsin's lichens.
Natural communities
Explore Wisconsin's natural communities.
Other features
Discover unique resources.
Eagle license plate

Help care for rare plants and animals by ordering an Endangered Resources plate.

Contact information
For information on Wisconsin's rare vertebrate animals, contact:
Rich Staffen
Conservation Biologist
For information on Wisconsin's rare invertebrates, contact:
Jay Watson
Conservation Biologist

Confusing Bumble Bee (Bombus perplexus)



Confusing Bumble Bee (Bombus perplexus), a State Special Concern bee, is a ground nesting bee found in wooded areas, urban parks, gardens, and wetlands. Wisconsin is toward the edges of its range and it was probably never common here. There are a few current records from Dane, Door, Pepin, and Waupaca Counties, mostly in July. Rangewide, bees are active April to September. Nectar plants include Cirsium (thistles), Melilotus (sweet clover), Penstemon, Pontederia, Prunus (plums/cherries), Ribes (gooseberry/currants), Rhododendron, Rubus (blackberry), Tilia, and Vaccinium (blueberry).

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Confusing Bumble Bee (Bombus perplexus). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.

Documented locations of Bombus perplexus in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusSC/N
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

Species guidance

A guidance document is not available at this time. Use the information from the other tabs and contact local biologists, as needed, to develop management and avoidance strategies.



Confusing Bumble Bee

Worker on bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare)

Photo by Jay Watson, WDNR.

Confusing Bumble Bee

Gyne on wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)

Photo by Jay Watson, WDNR.

Wildlife Action Plan

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

Natural community (habitat) associations

The table below lists the natural communities that are associated with Confusing Bumble Bee. Only natural communities for which Confusing Bumble Bee is "high" (score=3) or "moderate" (score=2) associated are shown. See the key to association scores for complete definitions. Please see the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.

Natural community Score

Ecological landscape associations

The table below lists the ecological landscape association scores for Confusing Bumble Bee. The scores correspond to the map (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None). For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

This map shows the probability of Confusing Bumble Bee occurring in each of Wisconsin's Ecological Landscapes.  Actual scores can be found in the table to the left.

Back to Top

Landscape-Community combinations of highest ecological priority*

Ecological priorities are the combinations of natural communities and ecological landscapes that provide Wisconsin's best opportunities to conserve important habitats for a given Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The 10 highest scoring combinations are considered ecological priorities and are listed below. More than 10 combinations are listed if multiple combinations tied for 10th place. For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

Ecological LandscapeCommunity
Forest Transition Northern Mesic Forest--early seral
Forest Transition Northern Mesic Forest--late seral
Forest Transition Northern Mesic Forest--mid seral
Forest Transition Northern Mesic Forest--young seral
Forest Transition Northern Wet Forest
Forest Transition Northern Wet-mesic Forest
North Central Forest Northern Hardwood Swamp
North Central Forest Northern Mesic Forest--early seral
North Central Forest Northern Mesic Forest--late seral
North Central Forest Northern Mesic Forest--mid seral
North Central Forest Northern Mesic Forest--young seral
North Central Forest Northern Wet Forest
North Central Forest Northern Wet-mesic Forest
North Central Forest Muskeg
North Central Forest Northern Sedge Meadow
North Central Forest Open Bog
Northern Highland Northern Dry Mesic--mid seral
Northern Highland Northern Dry Mesic--late seral
Northern Highland Northern Dry Mesic--young seral
Northern Highland Northern Wet Forest
Northern Highland Muskeg
Northern Highland Northern Sedge Meadow
Northern Highland Open Bog
Southeast Glacial Plains Dry Prairie
Southeast Glacial Plains Dry-mesic Prairie
Southeast Glacial Plains Mesic Prairie
Southeast Glacial Plains Surrogate Grasslands
Southeast Glacial Plains Wet Prairie
Southeast Glacial Plains Wet-mesic Prairie
Southeast Glacial Plains Oak Opening
Southeast Glacial Plains Oak Woodland
Southeast Glacial Plains Floodplain Forest
Southeast Glacial Plains Southern Dry Forest
Southeast Glacial Plains Southern Dry-mesic Forest
Southeast Glacial Plains Calcareous Fen
Southeast Glacial Plains Southern Sedge Meadow

* Ecological priority score is a relative measure that is not meant for comparison between species. This score does not consider socio-economical factors that may dictate protection and/or management priorities differently than those determined solely by ecological analysis. Further, a low ecological priority score does not imply that management or preservation should not occur on a site if there are important reasons for doing so locally.

Back to Top

Issues/threats and conservation actions

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.

Threats/issues and conservations actions for rare animals

Back to Top

Last revised: Thursday, October 08, 2020