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Agapostemon Sweat Bee (Agapostemon spp.)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Agapostemon Sweat Bee



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Agapostemon Sweat Bees seem drawn to perspiration, flying around and landing on sweaty arms and legs of unsuspecting people.



Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
There are over a dozen species of Agapostemon Sweat Bees. Males are easier to identity than females because of their distinct coloring. The head and thorax of males are a metallic green, but its abdomen is comprised of the black and yellow bands typically seen in the bee family. Females of many species are mostly green all over. Some species are very social and share nests, while others are more solitary in nature.

Nests are burrows dug into dirt or banks. Pollen grains are collected and placed in each egg's cell to provide food for the expected larva. For this reason, most sightings of adults occur around in or in gardens and meadows laden with blooms. Spring and summer are peak times of year for activity.

Adults drink flower nectar and eat pollen, and are not aggressive. They will sting in self-defense, however, if they are hit or almost crushed. Agapostemon Sweat Bees sometimes get close to, or touch parts of, the body that are perspiring. They seem to enjoy drinking the salty liquid off of our skin. Some are so small and lightweight, they are able to do so without the person even realizing it!




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Helpful insect icon
Pollinator insect icon
Shiny insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hymenoptera
        Family: Halictidae
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          Genus: Agapostemon
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            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Agapostemon spp.
Other Name(s): Striped Sweat Bees
Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 4mm to 12mm (0.15" to 0.47")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: green, yellow, black
Descriptors: metallic, shiny, half, flying, sweat, drink, two, helpful, pollinator
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 4mm (0.2in) and 12mm (0.5in)
Lo: 4mm
Md: 8mm
Hi: 12mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
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Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Agapostemon Sweat Bee may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Agapostemon Sweat Bee. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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