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Halictus / sweat Bee

Family: Halictidae

Genus: Halictus

Common Name: Sweat Bee


Physical Appearance

Color is dark or grayish brown to black, with bands of pale hair on the abdomen.


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



The common name of sweat bee derives from their attraction to human perspiration, which they drink for its salt content.


Females of all Halictus species mate before hibernating for the winter, emerging in spring ready to found new nests of offspring. There may be multiple generations of offspring throughout the spring and summer season.


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


Size: Small to medium sized slender bees, 1/4 to 1/2 inch in length.



This is a widespread genus of about 200 species, found mostly in North and Central America, Eurasia and Africa. Although there are only about ten species of Halictus in North America, they are widespread and abundant across the continent.


Number of species in North America 

About ten


Emergence Time
Early spring to summer


Nesting Habit
Ground nesting. Generally prefer flat, loose soil with low clay content.


Pollinated Garden Crops Include

Visited Plants

Agastache / Giant Hyssop

Amorpha / False Indigo

Ascelpias / Milkweed

Bidens / Beggarticks

Ceanothus / Wild Lilac

Cercis / Redbud

Chamerion / Fireweed

Chrysothamnus / Rabbitbrush

Clarkia / Clarkia

Cleome / Spiderflower

Coreopsis / Tickseed

Cosmos / Cosmos

Cucurbita / Gourd

Dalea / Prairie Clover

Erigeron / Fleabane

Erigonum / Buckwheat

Eryngium / Eryngo

Eschscholzia / California Poppy

Eutrochium / Joe-Pye Weed

Gaillardia / Blanketflower

Geranium / Wild Geranium

Grindelia / Gumweed

Helianthus / Sunflower

Larrea / Creosote Bush

Monarda / Beebalm

Penstemon / Beardtongue

Phacelia / Scorpionweed

Prunus / Plum

Pycnanthemum / Mountainmint

Ratibida / Prairie Coneflower

Rhododendron / Rhododendron

Ribes / Currant

Rosa / Rose

Rudbeckia / Coneflower

Salix / Willow

Silphium / Rosinweed

Solidago / Goldenrod

Sphaeralcea / Globemallow

Symphyotrichum / Aster

Verbesina / Wingstem

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