New York Natural Heritage Program
Northern Amber Bumble Bee
Bombus (Subterraneobombus) borealis Kirby, 1837
Insects

Threats [-]
Threats to Bombus borealis include habitat loss, pesticides, and urbanization (Schweitzer et al. 2012) as well as pollution and invasive species. This sub-genus (Subterraneobombus) does not appear to be experiencing high susceptiblity to the protozoan N. bombi, a pathogen attributed to playing a large role in the decline of Bombus and Thoracobomus sub-genera. As this species mainly resided in the Adirondacks prior to 2000, roads as barriers to dispersal and fragmentation of habitats may not be as large a threat for this species as for other Bombus found elsewhere. 

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices [-]
Any efforts to protect wild bumble bee populations from pathogen exposure would benefit northern amber bumble bees. Suggested actions would include using mesh to prevent escape of bees from commercial breeding greenhouses, proper disposal of commercial bees, sanitation in greenhouses, and development of molecular screening. Tight restrictions on importing bumble bees and elimination of parasites from commercial populations has been suggested as ideal (Meeus et al. 2011, Schweitzer et al. 2012).

Minimal to no exposure of northern amber bumble bees to insecticides would also benefit them. Suggested actions include avoidance of application to flowers that bumble bees are attracted to and application of solutions or soluble powders (rather than dusts or wettable powders) to the ground in calm wind and warmer tempertures during periods of dewless nights to minimize the impact to resident bumble bee populations (Schweitzer et al. 2012). Organic farming has also been suggested to benefit bumble bees. 

Research Needs [-]
Further research is needed to determine more information on habitat requirements, threats, climate change effects, and insecticide effects for northern amber bumble bees. A statewide inventory to assess the distribution and abundance of this species is also needed.