Augochlora Sweat Bee (Augochlora pura)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Augochlora Sweat Bee, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 2/2/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The small and charming Augochlora Sweat Bee looks like a little winged jewel with its brilliant metallic gleam that has a few color forms.
The shiny, metallic green color of this bee is vivid and uncommon compared to more typical yellow and black relatives. Augochlora Sweat Bees are small, with brown wings. Their bodies are shiny and metallic, covered in short hairs. In the warmer southeastern U.S., they may appear more blue or purple in color. Augochlora Sweat Bees are more tolerant of cool weather than other bee species and are visibly active in late winter and early spring. Sweat Bees have pollen baskets on their legs and collect it like other bees. They can sting like other bees, but are very reluctant to do so.
They are generally more solitary in nature. Adults feed on flower nectar they collect, or they steal it from aphids. They can be found on flowers or on tree bark. They are called Sweat Bees because they also seem to enjoy licking sweat off of arms and legs. The salt attracts the insect and allows for closer observation. They are not aggressive and are unlikely to sting. Like flies, one can shoo them away with gentle encouragement.
Females nest in rotting wood, in tunnels bored out by other insects (like beetle larvae), or underground in loose soil. A female digs cells into the end of the tunnel with and stuffs a pollen grain in each one with some nectar. She then lays one egg on each grain. The larvae overwinter and emerge as adults in the spring having grown to maturity by feasting on the nectar and pollen grain left by the mother.