Sweat Bee (Augochlora pura)

Sweat Bee
Augochlora pura
(Order Hymenoptera; Family Halictidae)


Augochlora pura, adult female worker (photo by Alicia Oberg)
(Kansas: Sedgwick County. Wichita, 37°44’22”N 97°15’49”W. Pollinating flower. July 11, 2011).

Adult Diagnosis: Sweat bees are small, solitary bees roughly 1/2 inch in length.  This particular species is bright, metallic green all over, possessing black antennae.

(from http://www.cirrusimage.com/McCann/green_bee_1.jpg).

Natural History: Augochlora pura have a flight season which lasts from the middle of April through early September, with active nests found in early May through the beginning of August, resulting in either two or three generations. Sweat bees build nests in the ground, laying their eggs in a series of branching tunnels, which are dug out of the soil and lined with a waxy substance.  They are not social but do build their nests close together, forming a loose type of colony.  Females emerge in August and September, mate during flower visits, and then over winter in a state of ovarian diapause in hibernacula at the bottoms of downed logs.

Larval bees. (from http://blog.wildaboutants.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/sweat-bee-1.jpg).

Distribution: Found throughout the United States but concentrated in the eastern half.

(from http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20m?kind=Augochlora+pura).

Habitat: Anywhere with a temperate climate, suitable soil for digging, and plenty of flowering plants.

Diet: They are polylectic.  The larvae eat the pollen stocked within the nest cells.  Adult bees feed on nectar.

Conservation Status: Least concern

Videos:
Green Metallic Sweat Bee Pollinating

 

Links:
Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halictidae
BugGuide http://bugguide.net/node/view/13435/bgpage
Tree of Life http://tolweb.org/tree?group=Halictidae
University of Florida http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/bees/halictid_bees.htm
Ferrebeekeeper http://ferrebeekeeper.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/sweat-bees/

References:
Garden Insects of North America: The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs. Whitney Cranshaw. ©2004 by Princeton University Press.

An Introduction to the Study of Insects, 3rd ed. Donald J. Borror and Dwight M. DeLong. ©1964 by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc.

The Cambridge Natural History: Insects, Vol. 2. David Sharp. ©1970 by Dover Publications, Inc.

The Insect World; being A Popular Account of the Orders of Insects, together with a description of The Habitats and Economy of Some of the Most Interesting Species. Louis Figuier. ©1896 by D. Appleton and Co.

Peterson First Guides to Insects of North America. Christopher Leahy. ©1987 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Insects in Kansas. Glenn A. Salsbury and Stephan C. White. ©2000 by Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Nesting Habits and Life Cycle of a Sweat Bee, Augochlora pura (Hymenoptera: Halictidae). Stockhammer, K. A. 1966. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 39: 157-192.

Submitted by: Alicia Oberg, November 2011

 

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