Agapostemon sp. (Halictidae)
Agapostemon sp. (Halictidae)

Halictids, or “sweat bees”, are small- to medium-sized, ground nesting bees. Their social biology ranges widely from solitary to primitively eusocial [1].

Solitary species forage and provision the nests of their offspring by themselves, whereas in eusocial species the queen rears a worker caste, which then help her to rear additional offspring [2].

Eusocial halictids can create rather large colonies, with more than 200 individuals. They are frequently very abundant once encountered. Key taxonomic characters of the halictids are the strongly bent basal vein in the forewing and lack of facial foveae [3].

Females of the Halictinae, a common subfamily, have a “split-tail” appearance resulting from a longitudinal groove in the pseudopygidium on the last metasomal segment.

Green Metallic Sweat Bee (Halictidae: Agopostemon virescens)
Green metallic bee (Halictidae: Agopostemon virescens) on sunflower

Agapostemon have bright, metallic green colored heads and mesosomas. In our region they can often be seen foraging on sunflowers. Species belonging to Genus Dialictus are black to dull metallic and can be quite small.

Lasioglossum sisymbrii (Halictidae: Lasioglossum)
Lasioglossum sisymbrii (Halictidae: Lasioglossum) on blackberry

Some species belonging to the Genus Lasioglossum are less metallic in coloration than the Agapostemon and are attracted to the perspiration of individuals that have build up a sweat (“sweat bees”).



1. Michener, 2007

2. Stephen et al., 1969

3. Triplehorn and Johnson, 2005