Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sweat Bee


Sweat Bee (Tribe Augochlorini)

Sweat Bee is the common name given to a large family (Halictidae) of small bees. Generalizations about life cycles and degrees of social development among sweat bees is difficult because they vary widely between species. Most species nest in the ground, but some nest in wood. Nests usually consist of a single main tunnel having one or more clumped cells arising from lateral branches. In some species, the bees constantly guard the nest entrances.

Many species are solitary -- that is, the female builds and occupies its nest alone. In some sweat bee species, females nest communally, sharing a common nest entrance but constructing cells individually. Many specie show varying levels of sociality. In these species, there may be several egg-laying "queens" with the other nest mates functioning as workers. Sometimes generations of these bees overlap and live together and there may be a division of labor among nest mates.

Tribe Augochlorini contains three genera of metallic sweat bees that according to BugGuide are "very difficult to tell apart from only a photograph." The are impossible for me to tell apart -- period.



Share/Bookmark

14 comments:

Old Wom Tigley said...

I've never seen these beefore :O)

They certainly are diffent, I'll google thesr later...

evlahos said...

excellent macro and colors

Dave said...

Nice pix. Spring must be all a buzz.

Texas Travelers said...

Great photo. Nice color and depth of field.

These are usually very hard to photograph.

Excellent work and terrific writeup as usual.

Troy

Q said...

Great Picture!
I am smitten with the bees. Glad to see you have bee awareness!
~Very cool bee!~
Happy Earth Day,
Sherry

Jennifer said...

Wow... Wonderful color! Today I saw some bees that were colored like honeybees, but very, very small... they were in the Trout Lilies!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a gorgeous shot. YOu must have some macro Marvin. What color here.

mon@rch said...

Hey Marvin, I just love your Sweat Bee and never realized how wonderful they are until seeing yoru macro shot! I just spent some time catching up on many of your post that I have missed while camping! As always, I love your pictures!

Andrée said...

I have never seen this bee, Marvin. It probably is a southern one? It's quite beautiful. But bees in the ground are scary to me (I refuse to carry my epipen). In Vermont they call yellow jackets or any bee that lives in the ground "ground bees." I had to have some exterminated because of my allergy. But they used chrysanthemum extract. I hated doing it but it was them or me (literally).

AphotoAday said...

Incredible irridescence, or as you called it -- metallic... Interesting what a little society they have...

Lana Gramlich said...

Wow! What a beautiful color!

lisa said...

Great shot!

Marvin said...

Thanks to everyone for their comments. These little sweat bees are one of my favorites (but I have a lot of favorites). I think this one was napping and that's why I was able to get the shot. It was staying put on the little Johnny-Jump-Up and wasn't flitting from flower to flower.

Andrée: These bees are a lot smaller that what we call yellow jackets and don't form the large underground colonies. I don't know if you have them in Vermont or not. My guess would be "yes". You really aren't likely to see them unless your are in the habit of dropping to your knees to check out whatever you glimpse nectaring in a flower. Their sting is normally considered minor, but it could be a whole different situation for someone who is allergic.

Anonymous said...

Marvin:
Great photo, I have wondered what the name of this sweat bee is for years I have seen them up and down the west coast from British columbia to california. They are not very abundant. However if one looks carefully they are around. I have even found them on driftwood on the beach.
Brandon