Sweat Bee

Halictidae

Sweat Bee

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A macro shot of a halictid bee sweat bee
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Halictidae is the second largest family of true bees. They're called Sweat Bees because some species are attracted to perspiration odours. These bees are probably the most abundant following the honey bees (Apis). They also demonstrate considerable social diversity. The family contains species which are solitary, communal, semi-social and eusocial; there are even some species that can alternate between different social behaviours, depending on the local conditions. Sweat Bee social behaviour has been studied heavily because they give some insight into the evolution of social behaviour in insects.
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Traits

Pretty, often iridescent, pollinators which are a joy to watch in the garden.
Can be attracted to your sweat!

Appearance

Adults: Halictid shows considerable variation. Many species appear slender, similar to that of a honeybee. Colouration is often iridescent- meaning when the light reflects off the body, the bee can look different in colour. Black, blue, green and turquoise is just some of the colours that these bees boast. Others are red, yellow and black- which are the more typical colours you'd expect a bee to be. Many species are equipt with specialised hairs on the legs which are used to carry pollen. The males appear similar to females belonging to the same species, but many will possess characteristic yellow faces. Larvae & Eggs: The observer seldom sees these because they stay in the nests, where they're tended to by female worker bees.

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Hymenoptera

Family

Halictidae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

Worldwide

Biological treatment

Sweat bees are essential pollinators for wildflowers and crops. It's not recommended to treat gardens where sweat bees are present. They might be a nuisance if they are attracted to your smell but won't sting unless they are threatened. You can help bees by planting a selection of indigenous plants in the garden which produce blooms throughout the year!

Attracts this pest

Attract these pretty bees to your garden by planting wildflowers. A few of their favourites include stone fruits, alfalfa and sunflowers.
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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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