Appears to be a member of the Apidae family, species known as Bombus, Several diferent coloration patterns throughout this species, Black and yellow fury appearance usually about 1/4 “to 1” inch long. some sub-species have the redish orange coloration.
Thanks. That led me to start looking for bumblebees. I round this one that looks very similar: http://www.insectidentification.org/pictureviewer/insect-pic-detail.asp?identification=Tri-Colored-Bumble-Bee&sCurrentPic=pic1
I didn’t know thistle had so much nectar. Ants and bees are all over it. These ladies are very industrious.