The response to last week’s blog post prompted me to send the photographs to BugGuide for identification. I now know the pollinator was a sweat bee, specifically Halictidae lasioglossum. I’ve learned there are many species of sweat bees. Many are dark black or brown, but some are quite colorful. I saw this one (Halictidae agapostemon) in our backyard a few years ago.
I’ve also seen this one (Augochloropsis metallica). It reminds me of a jewel – maybe a flying emerald?
I’ve learned that sweat bees are common, widespread, and important pollinators. Most are small – less than 1/4 inch. A few are drawn to perspiration for its moisture and salt, but they are not aggressive. Only the females have stingers, and they sting only if squeezed.
I’m glad to to know more about these small bees, and I’m delighted to have them as backyard neighbors. I look forward to seeing more of them as the season progresses.