Sweat Bees

  • Name: Halictidae
  • Rank: family

The Halictidae is the second largest family of Apoidea bees. Halictid species occur all over the world and are usually dark-colored and often metallic in appearance. Several species are all or partly green and a few are red; a number of them have yellow markings, especially the males, which commonly possess yellow faces, a pattern widespread among the various families of bees.

  • Nesting: Sweat bees (Halictidae) prefer to nest in bare or sparsely vegetated soil. They typically select flat or slightly sloped ground. Some species nest in rotting wood or within plant stems. The nests are often shallow, with vertical or horizontal tunnels leading to brood cells. Nests may be solitary or communal, depending on the species. A sunny location is usually chosen to keep the nest warm. The soil texture can vary, but well-drained soils are generally preferred to avoid flooding.
  • Pollen Carrying Method: Scopa (Pollen Brushes)
  • Foraging: Sweat bees (Halictidae) exhibit diverse foraging habits: – **Polylectic:** Many sweat bees are polylectic, meaning they forage on a wide variety of flowering plants. – **Mesolectic:** Some species show mesolectic behavior, where they specialize on a moderate range of plant families. – **Oligolectic:** Certain species are oligolectic, foraging specifically on a narrow range of plant genera or even a single plant species. These foraging strategies vary among different sweat bee species.
  • Size: Tiny, 5-8 mm.
  • Average Length: 8 mm
  • Body Type: Andreniform
  • Coloring: Metallic green, metallic blue, metallic purple, brown, black, yellow, red
  • Pattern: Bands and stripes
  • Sociality: Solitary, Communal, Eusocial
  • Wings: Transparent, veined, membranous, two pairs
  • Eyes: Metallic sheen, compound eyes.
  • Mandibles: Short, broad, and toothed.
  • Sting: Sting, pain: mild, aggression: low
  • Tarsal Claws: Unique, bifid, or simple.
  • Abdomen: Often metallic, striped abdomen.
  • Antennae: Short
  • Hair: Fine, pale, sparse, branched, short
  • Colorado Native: true
Additional Notes: – Known for metallic coloring, often green or blue. – Widely distributed, including both tropical and temperate zones. – Often ground-nesting, some species nest in wood. – Important pollinators for various crops and wild plants. – Exhibit a range of social structures, from solitary to eusocial. – Attracted to human sweat for moisture and salt. – Females possess a short tongue relative to other bees. – Most species are relatively small, typically under 1 cm. – Some species have been observed practicing nest usurpation.

Identification Tips: – Metallic Coloring: Often green, blue, or bronze. – Small Size: Typically 5-15 mm. – Hair Bands: Noticeable hair bands on abdomen. – Body Shape: Slender, elongate body. – Behavior: Often seen landing on human skin or sweat. – Wing Venation: Distinctive branching patterns in forewings.

ID: 49707

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