Metallic Green Sweat Bee

Common Name: Metallic Green Sweat Bee.

Scientific Name: Agapostemon Texanus.

What to look for?  Most members of this family are black or brown, but some are brightly colored, notably with metallic greens and blues. Their markings vary from green to red to yellow, often with bands similar to those of honeybees. All have short tongues, compared to other types of bees. Halictid bees can vary greatly in appearance. While a select few are robust, most are slender bees. The majority of species are dull to metallic black, with the remaining species being metallic green, blue or purple. Males and females are easily distinguishable.  The female is all green, from head to thorax to abdomen, while the male (right) is green on the head and thorax but not on the abdomen.

Where can they be found at Carillon Stonegate Pond? Metallic Green Sweat Bees can be found during summer on various sunflowers and other wildflowers around Carillon Stonegate Pond.

How big are they? Many Metallic Green Sweat Bees are quite small. Only one-quarter (1/4) of an inch.

What are their flight patterns? Metallic Green Sweat Bees are fast and agile in flight – if you can see this small bee.

How else do they behave? Metallic Green Sweat Bees are solitary insects. They are not aggressive. Metallic Green Sweat Bees are famous for their tendency to land on humans to obtain moisture and salts from perspiration - think sports beverages for insects.

What’s for dinner? The Metallic Green Sweat Bees larvae feed on pollen and nectar. Adults, like many other bees, eat nectar and pollen, while pollinating flowers in the process.

Where do they take up residence? Metallic Green Sweat Bees are found worldwide. And these species are common throughout the eastern United States. They forage for pollen and nectar among flowers in fields, gardens, grasslands, roadsides, and other open places where flowers are abundant.

When and where do they breed and nest? Most Metallic Green Sweat Bees will nest underground, creating a series of cells.  All Metallic Green Sweat Bees are mass provisioners; that is, they provision each cell with all the food (pollen and nectar) a larva will need until it emerges. Metallic Green Sweat Bees overwinter as prepupae. In the spring or summer, the females emerge, mate if they have not already done so, and begin digging nests and provisioning cells with pollen and nectar. In each cell they lay a single egg. When the larva emerges from the egg, it consumes the pollen provision until the food is gone. The larva will pupate and emerge as adults.

Where do they migrate? Metallic Green Sweat Bees do not migrate. They overwinter as prepupae.

Do they make any interesting sounds? No.

Interesting Facts About the Metallic Green Sweat Bee (and sweat bees in general):

  • Metallic Green Sweat Bees are also known as Furrow Bees, Nomiine Bees, Shortface Bees, and Halictids.

  • They are called ‘sweat bees’ because in hot weather they are attracted to our perspiration, which contains salt that they lap up.

  • The family name is derived from the genus name ‘Halictus’, which means "to gather" or "to assemble” in reference to the mother sweat bee's gathering of nectar and pollen to feed her young.

  • Sweat Bees are some of the smallest bees that can buzz-pollinate. In this process, the bee grabs the anther of the flower in its mandibles, curls its abdomen around the anther, and vibrates its wing muscles, causing the anther to release its pollen.

For more information on Metallic Green Sweat Bees and sources of information used in this blog (these are the several of the sources that I am using to learn as I blog), please visit University of Florida Feature Creatures, Missouri Department of Conservation Field Guide, and University of California Davis Bug Squad.

The Carillon at Stonegate community is very fortunate to have a variety of wetland, forest and prairie environments conducive to a variety of birds and other wildlife, insects and plants. Our community and the Kane County Forest Preserve do an exceptional job in maintaining this natural environment – both for the benefit of the birds and wildlife and for our residents to enjoy.

 

Take a hike and see what you can find – and identify!