Currently viewing the category: "Sweat Bees"

Subject: Sweat Bees
Location: Baldwin Hills in Los Angeles, CA
July 18, 2012 8:32 pm
Hi! Last year we noticed a few all-green metallic sweat bees in our garden (burrowing – sent you the pics). Now we’re seeing a different type of sweat bee: smaller with a green metallic head and thorax; black-and-yellow striped abdomen. They love the blooming artichoke. There’s a skipper in one shot, to provide perspective.
Signature: Tracy

Metallic Green Sweat Bee

Hi Tracy,
This is another Sweat Bee in the family Halictidae, and we believe it is most likely in the genus
Agapostemon based on the photos posted to BugGuide.  We will see if your Metallic Green Sweat Bee submitted last year is in our archive.  Back then you thought it might be Agapostemon texanus and females of that species are all green while males have striped abdomens according to BugGuide images.  We would say that chances are last year you photographed a female and this year a male.  We also find these Green Metallic Sweat Bees on cardoons, a wild member of the artichoke family, in our Mt Washington, Los Angeles neighborhood.

Metallic Green Sweat Bee and Skipper

Green Bee or Wasp
Location: Northeast Florida
September 11, 2011 11:42 am
I saw this bee (or wasp) on our Mexican Petunias today in northeast FL. It has a bright green head and thorax, and a black and yellow striped abdomen. I looked for information here and on BugGuide and found the Metallic Green Bee (Agapostemon splendens) which looks like my bee. However the size is listed as approximately 10-11mm. The Mexican Petunia flower is 2” wide, about 50mm, and this bee looks larger than 10-11 mm on the flower, doesn’t it? Can you help?
Signature: Karen

Metallic Sweat Bee

Dear Karen,
We agree that this appears to be a Metallic Sweat Bee in the genus
Agapostemon, but we cannot identify the species for certain.  BugGuide does not list a size range on the genus page.  Your individual looks very much like this photo from BugGuide and it is listed as being between 1 and 2 centimeters.

Thank you for your help! The photo you referred me to does look like the bee I saw, and the size range of up to 2 cm seems more in line with the actual size of my bee. I enjoy your website very much–I’ve learned a lot since I found it, and I appreciate all you do. I’m a special education teacher and I’m hoping to use What’s That Bug with my students later on this school year–I think they’ll be fascinated.

Identification courtesy of John Ascher
April 22, 2012
definitely an A. splendens male.

Half wasp, half bee
Location: Phoenix, AZ
August 27, 2011 10:04 am
So I look up, and there are 20 of these in my kitchen. I’m in Phoenix, AZ, its August, they can fit on my pinky nail, very small, iridescent green thorax and head, abdomen is striped black and yellow like a bee. Its hard to tell if its a wasp or a bee, but the morphology tells me bee. Any info would be appreciated, Thanks!
Signature: Colin

Metallic Sweat Bee

Hi Colin,
The insect in your photo is a Metallic Sweat Bee in the tribe Halictini, based on information posted to BugGuide.

Identification courtesy of John Ascher
April 22, 2012
Agapostemon males

Green bee
Location: Southwest Los Angeles, CA
August 15, 2011 1:06 am
Saw two of these iridescent green bees yesterday. They burrowed in the soil below our fig tree and did lots of hovering in the vicinity. They were no more than 1/2” in length. One had pollen, the other didn’t. I’m guessing halictidae agapostemon texanus… but would love for the experts to weigh in. Thank you!
Signature: Tracy

Metallic Sweat Bee

Hi Tracy,
We agree that you have photographed Metallic Sweat Bees in the family Halictidae, but we are very reluctant to agree to a species or even a genus identification of this confusing family. 
We are especially thrilled with your photo that shows a Metallic Sweat Bee digging.  According to BugGuide, the are:  “Typically ground-nesters, with nests formed in clay soil, sandy banks of streams, etc. Most species are polylectic (collecting pollen from a variety of unrelated plants)”

Metallic Sweat Bee

Your photos are an excellent addition to our website.

Metallic Sweat Bee

Identification courtesy of John Ascher
April 22, 2012
Agapostemon female



interesting red ’bee’?
Location: west flank of west flank coastal mountains above pescadero, california
May 26, 2011 9:14 pm
found this pollinator on a ceanothus blossom, above pescadero, california. i’ve searched through google without success. can you provide any information? this is purely a curiosity question so there is absolutely no hurry. i am an ardent gardener and am in the early stages of introducing bee hives to our san francisco neighborhood.
thank you!!!
Signature: chris dillon, san francisco, ca.

Solitary Bee

Hi Chris,
We are supposed to be reducing the number of images we need for our presentation at Theodore Payne Foundation tomorrow, and your photo would be an excellent addition.  We agree that this is a Solitary Bee, but we haven’t the time this morning to research the species.  It sure is a pretty little bee.

Perhaps this is the Mining Bee,
Andrena prima, which is represented on BugGuide from Oklahoma and Arizona.

good morning, daniel!
i’d be delighted to have you use my “red bee” image!  i love taking pictures of insects…& being recently retired, i can now do so more attentively.   i have a battered, because i’m clumsy(!), little canon power shot camera which suits my purpose very well.  i had a wonderful time capturing this image!
she is beautiful!
the red bee was the only one of her type amongs a busy crew of more traditional honeybees and two very loudly buzzing, seemingly irritable & frantic, huge glittering black solitary bees.  they were all engaged in harvesting from both fremontia and ceanothus plants/trees.  the red bee pictured was much less “vivacious” than her associates.  she systematically and thoroughly explored each petal of each flower which she chose to settle upon.   i was at yerba buena nursery, a magical  native plant resource, which is somewhat isolated on the western flank of the coastal mountains, between santa cruz and san francisco.  kathy, the owner, was able to provide info on the black bees.
thank you for your request!   i’ll now search for the theodore payne foundation which you mentioned…this retirement life certainly opens many “learning portals”!

Update:  April 3, 2014
Thanks to a comment from Curious Girl, we believe this may be a cleptoparasitic Sweat Bee in the genus Sphecodes, which is well represented on BugGuide.

Metallic Green Insect
May 24, 2010
Curious to know what this handsome bug is–his most outstanding feature is his vivid green color.
Evelyn Wolfer
Joshua, Texas (South Fort Worth)

Sweat Bee

Dear Evelyn,
There are several genera of Sweat Bees in the family Halictidae that have green metallic coloration, and we really haven’t the necessary skills to differentiate the genera much less the species.  BugGuide breaks down the categories quite nicely should you choose to pursue additional research.