It was a sweat bee!

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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.

Bi-colored sweat bee

I’ve also seen this one (Augochloropsis metallica). It reminds me of a jewel – maybe a flying emerald?

Green sweat bee

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.

5 thoughts on “It was a sweat bee!”

  1. Oh Betty, these two photos are just stunning, and the colours are amazing!
    The bees seem to have picked the perfect flower, colour wise, to settle on.
    I must look in my book of insects to see if we have these bees in the U.K.

    1. Pauline, I’d be quite interested to know what you find out. I’ve read that sweat bees are widespread. I understand that all of them are desirable pollinators and it’s especially fun to see some of the colorful ones.

      1. Hello Betty
        We do have Sweat Bees here in the U.K. but i am not sure
        if i have noticed them in our garden, but i will have a good look when there are more bees about pollen collecting.

      2. Pauline, I’ll be interested to know what you find. They are small and easily overlooked. I think that’s true of many of our pollinators and beneficial insects.

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