This course is designed for anyone who wants to reliably identify bumble bees to species in the field, including conservation professionals, students performing research on bumble bees, and volunteers who want to take their identification skills to the next level. We will cover 24 common and uncommon bumble bee species including the endangered rusty patched bumble bee. We will focus on the color morphs that are common in the upper Midwest, but will cover species common throughout eastern North America.

This is a self-guided course that you can work on at your own pace year-round. The course includes pre-recorded videos and digital materials. Instructors are always available for questions via the online course interface or email. Live sessions will be regularly scheduled throughout the year and announced on the course page.

If course fees prohibit you from participating, please contact Elaine at elainee@umn.edu.

Zach Portman: Zach is a bee taxonomist at the University of Minnesota in the Cariveau Native Bee Lab. His research focuses on the identification, taxonomy, and conservation of Minnesota bees. He received his PhD at Utah State University, studying native bees under Dr. Terry Griswold.

Elaine Evans: Elaine is a University of MN Extension Educator and Researcher working on bee conservation. Elaine completed an M.S. and Ph.D. in Entomology at the University of Minnesota and currently works with volunteers to survey bumble bees in MN though the Midwest Bumble Bee Atlas programs.

Course Contact

Elaine Evans, elainee@umn.edu

Registration questions

Extension Registration, ext-reg@umn.edu

User Name or Password help 

UMN Help Desk, HELP@umn.edu, 612-301-4357. Let them know you are using a guest account to register for a non-credit Canvas course.

Enroll Now - Select a section to enroll in
Section Title
Midwest Bumble Bee Identification
May 22, 2023 to Mar 01, 2025
Section Details

You will receive instructions for accessing the online course after registration. Access to the course begins May 22, 2023. This is an asynchronous on-line course. You can register and start working through the course materials at your own pace at any time.

Previous insect identification skills, particularly with bees, are recommended. We will briefly cover basic bumble bee ID skills, but the focus will be on advanced bee ID skills.

Please advice us of any different abilities, so we can make sure all class materials are accessible.

No refunds after starting the course.

Required fields are indicated by .