Meet a Critter: Sweat Bee – Agapostemon splendens

 

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Male Sweat Bee – Agapostemon splendens on Blanketflower – Gaillardia pulchella
Agapostemon splendens, or Sweat Bee; Halictid Bee, is a member of the Halictidae bee family, one of the six families in the order Hymenoptera.  Halictidae is a remarkably diverse group and they are highly variable in appearance.  The most recognizable are the green metallic Sweat Bees, Augochloropsis, Augochlorella, Agapostemon and Augochlora species.  The sun illuminates their unmistakable shimmering color as they land on flowers to collect pollen.  They seem to prefer flowers in the Asteraceae (composite) family.  In Central Florida, I usually see them in the warmer months of March through November gathering pollen from Gaillardia pulchella (Blanketflower), Bidens alba (Beggarticks) and Helianthus debilis  (Dune Sunflower).

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Female Sweat Bee – Agapostemon splendens on West Coast Dune Sunflower – Helianthus debilis var. vestitus
Agapostemon splendens are ground nesting bees.  Although they are considered solitary nesters, it is not unusual for females to share and allow other females to enter the nest.  Male and female A. splendens are easy to tell apart.  The male is more slender than females with a black and yellow striped abdomen.  The female is plumper with an all green body.  The female typically has darker wings while males are usually clearer. You can attract Sweat Bees and other native ground nesting bees to your landscape by planting Florida native wildflowers, especially those in the Asteraceae (Composite) family and by retaining areas of bare soil for nesting.

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Female Sweat Bee – Agapostemon splendens on Bidens alba – Beggarticks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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