Living With Sweat Bees

Sweat Bees of the Family, Halictidae are common in North America. They derive their name from salt collection behavior, landing on people and drinking salty sweat from the skin. However, their primary food is pollen. Bees evolved from predatory wasps over 100 million years ago as the flowering plants diversified. Bees collect pollen and provision nests, which for Halictid bees are usually in the ground. Sweat bees have a variety of social structures from solitary nesting to social nesting, depending on the species.

Several species of Halictid bees have shiny green metallic coloration. This coloration is a warning to predators that they can sting and the predator would be wise to hunt less dangerous prey. Sweat bee stings are low on the pain scale of insect stings. However, sweat bee stings can be an issue for people with insect venom allergies.

Sweat Bee

Sweat Bee

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
Image | This entry was posted in behavior, by jjneal, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Living With Sweat Bees

  1. mayeriment says:

    Reblogged this on MAYERiment Gardens and commented:
    I was lucky enough to observe this beauty recently and I captured it on video. I will post it soon.

  2. Amy Petschonek says:

    We live in a rural area south of St. Louis, MO. Sweat bees are extrenely plentiful this year, to the point that they limit the time wd can soend outdoors. Any ideas on how to get rid if them?

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