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Bicolored Agapostemon Sweat Bee (Agapostemon viriscens)

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

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Image Credit: David H. from Syracuse, NY
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The Bicolored Agapostemon Sweat Bee has a two-in-one appearance: the shimmering front half looks nothing like its more recognizable backside.

Updated: 01/02/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Bicolored Agapostemon Sweat Bees are small bees that may sting if disturbed. The head and thorax are a shiny, metallic green color with a bumpy texture. This species has an abdomen that is more commonly seen on bees and wasps. Bands of black and yellow/white on the back half of the insect help observers avoid mistaking it for a fly. Other types of sweat bees are completely green. Sweat bees get their name from their attraction to human perspiration.

Bicolored Agapostemon Sweat Bees queens, daughters and males share the hive with larvae. This species nests in the ground and may damage lawns when building their homes. A small entrance/exit hole may be all that is visible on the surface, but excavation underground to make room for cells can destroy turf roots. The underground tunnels hold capped cells, each containing an egg and its food supply. Flying adults emerge after pupating in their cells. Adults gather pollen and are considered beneficial pollinators. Inhabitants seem to retreat into the nest for hours if something/someone passes by.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Shiny insect icon
Insect stinger icon
Striped or banded insect icon
Venomous 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: viriscens

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Agapostemon viriscens
Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 10mm to 13mm (0.39" to 0.51")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: green; yellow; black; white
Descriptors: flying; fuzzy; hairy; stripe; bands; bee; shiny; metallic; two-toned; stinging; venomous

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 10mm (0.4in) and 13mm (0.5in)
Lo: 10mm
Md: 11.5mm
Hi: 13mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Bicolored 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 Bicolored Agapostemon Sweat Bee. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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