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Pest Information

Sweat Bees

Sweat Bees

  • Latin Name: Halictidae
  • Common Name: Sweat Bees
  • Other Names: N/A

Pest Details

Sweat Bees
Sweat Bees
Sweat Bees

Origin:

These are important native bees in North America.

Biology:

This family of highly beneficial bees consists of only solitary bees. They do not form colonies of workers and a queen, but instead the female works alone following mating to create a nest area for her offspring, usually in small chambers in the soil. She then provisions each chamber with pollen and nectar for the single egg in that chamber. A few species in the family are referred to as “cleptoparasites” in that the female deposits her eggs in chambers already provisioned with food and eggs by other species and the larva consumes that egg and then the food meant for the other species of bee. These bees are important pollinators, and while they are “capable” of stinging if trapped in a hand or clothing it is highly unlikely that they will sting people. They will sometimes land on people to sip at sweat, and this may result in a sting that is reported to be only mildly painful.

Identification:

This is a large family with a diverse array of colors and patterns, with over 520 different species in North America. Some species are metallic bluish, green, or orange while others are hairy and with dark and light banded abdomens. Even other species have a metallic green thorax and head and a hairy abdomen of black and white rings around the segments. Most species are relatively narrow-bodied and smaller than honeybees while some are about the same size as the honeybee and very similar in appearance. A character that distinguishes the bees in this family is a strongly curved wing vein at the middle of the forewing.

Characteristicts Important to Control:

These beneficial bees should never be killed. Even when present in residential yards or child play areas the likelihood of stinging is exceptionally low, and the benefits of the bees outweigh any threat.

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