Augochlorella / sweat Bee

Family: Halictidae

Genus: Augochlorella

Common Name: Sweat Bee

APPEARANCE

Physical Appearance

Augochlorella species range in color from bright green to bright green suffused with yellow or copper, to dark metallic blue.

 

The female carries pollen in a brush of specialized hairs, called scopa, on each hind leg.

 

Characteristics

While, like other members of the subfamily, Halictinae, they are commonly referred to as “sweat bees”, Augochlorella 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.

 

Females of Augochlorella species, like all members of the subfamily, Halictinae, mate before hibernating for the winter, emerging in spring ready to found new nests of offspring.

 

After founding her first nest in the spring, the female will lay all female eggs which will become foragers and workers. The founding females of some species will then no longer emerge to forage, but fulfill the role of “queen”, focusing exclusively on egg-laying.

 

True generalists, Augochlorella species visit a wide variety of flowers for pollen and nectar, and, given the opportunity, can be significant pollinators of many crop plants.

 

Size: Very small slender bees, measuring less than 1/4 to 1/3 inch in length.

HABITS

Distribution

There are sixteen recognized species of Augochlorella, all of which are restricted almost entirely to the Americas.

 

Seven of these species are found in North America, concentrated primarily in the East, Midwest and Southwest United States, as well as a narrow band of southeastern Canada. There is only one species found in the Western United States, and its range does not extend further north than California.

Number of species in North America

Seven

 

Emergence Time
Summer

 

Nesting Habit
Ground nesting; typically multiple generations of offspring are produced throughout the spring and summer season.

Pollinated Garden Crops Include

Squash
Blueberry

 

Additional Flowers Visited in Natural Areas
Prosopis (mesquite)
Rubus (blackberry)

Visited Plants

Agastache / Giant Hyssop

Amelanchier / Serviceberry

Asclepias / Milkweed

Bidens / Beggarticks

Ceanothus / Wild Lilac

Coreopsis / Tickseed

Cucurbita / Gourd

Erigeron / Fleabane

Eriogonum / Buckwheat

Eutrochium / Joe-Pye Weed

Helianthus / Sunflower

Penstemon / Beardtongue

Prunus / Plum

Pycnanthemum / Mountainmint

Rosa / Rose

Rudbeckia / Coneflower

Salix / Willow

Silphium / Rosinweed

Solidago / Goldenrod

Sphaeralcea / Globemallow

Vaccinium / Blueberry

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