Agapostemon / Green Sweat Bee

Family: Halictidae

Genus: Agapostemon

Common Name: Green Sweat Bee

APPEARANCE

Physical Appearance
Females of some species are entirely bright green, whereas others have a bright green head and thorax and contrasting black and white striped abdomen. Agapostemon males typically have a bright green head and thorax in combination with a striking black and yellow striped abdomen.

 

The female carries pollen in brushes of specialized hairs, called a scopa, on her hind legs.

 

Characteristics
Females mate in late summer/early fall and hibernate, usually in their old nests, over winter. They emerge in spring ready to found new nests of offspring.

 

Agapostemon are generalists, visiting many plant species to obtain pollen and nectar. As true generalists, Agapostemon can be excellent crop pollinators, provided that supplemental forage and nest sites are available. They are known to be effective pollinators of strawberry, watermelon, and even squash plants.

 

While, like other members of the subfamily, Halictinae, they are commonly referred to as “sweat bees,” Agapostemon species are not actually attracted to human perspiration. Two other main bee genera in the subfamily Halictinae (sometimes collectively referred to as “halictids”), Halictus and Lasioglossum, are known to be attracted to human perspiration, which they drink for the salt content. Due to their close familial relationship, however, the common term “sweat bee” has come to describe all the genera in this subfamily.

 

These striking, colorful bees are frequent visitors in spring and summer to gardens across most of the U.S., especially when attracted by an abundance of floral resources and sufficient ground nesting areas.

 

Size: Small to medium sized slender bee, approximately 1/3 inch in length.

 

HABITS

Distribution
Found primarily in the Americas, with the greatest abundance of species occurring in North America. The genus is widespread across North America, being most diverse and abundant in temperate regions and in deserts of the southwest United States.


Emergence Time
Mated females from the previous fall emerge in spring to found their nests; new female and male offspring appear from early through late summer.


Nesting Habit

Ground nesting

 

Pollinated Garden Crops Include
Strawberry
Watermelon
Squash

 

Additional Flowers Visited in Natural Areas
Prosopis (mesquite)
Psorothamnus (dalea, smoketree)

Visited Plants

Asclepias / Milkweed

Bidens / Beggarticks

Chrysothamnus / Rabbitbrush

Cleome / Spiderflower

Coreopsis / Tickseed

Cosmos / Cosmos

Curcurbita / Gourd

Dalea / Prarie Clover

Echinacea / Purple Coneflower

Erigeron / Fleabane

Erigonium / Buckwheat

Eschscholzia / California Poppy

Gaillardia / Blanketflower

Grindelia / Gumweed

Helenium / Sneezeweed

Helianthus / Sunflower

Larrea / Creosote Bush

Liatris / Blazing Star

Nepata / Catmint

Penstemon / Beardtongue

Phacelia / Scorpionweed

Prunus / Plum

Ratibida / Prarie Coneflower

Rhododendron / Rhododendron

Rosa / Rose

Rudbeckia / Coneflower

Salix / Willow

Silphium / Rosinweed

Solidago / Goldenrod

Sphaeralcea / Globemallow

Symphyotrichum / Aster

Vaccinium / Blueberry

Verbesina / Wingstem

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