Thursday, October 1, 2009

Apiary Love vol. 1: GREEN SWEAT BEES (Agapostemon spp.)

For my really quite insane friend KYTE.

Agapostemon sp.

As is probably obvious from the name, some Green Sweat Bees of the genus Agapostemon are known to lap sweat from the skin of surprised and annoyed humans. This is not necessarily their favorite ingestible, but human sweat can be an excellent source of salts and other minerals. The entire family Halictidae, in which the GSBs are placed are referred to as Sweat Bees. Like most bee species, Sweat Bees subsist primarily on flower nectar and pollen.

Agapostemon sp.

Bees of this genus are found through out the Americas, and can be metallic green or blue, often with striped abdomens. They mate and raise their young individually , but live in large group nests in the ground with a common entrance gallery. There may be 2 - 25 individual nests with in the colony. Just to be clear though, they do not maintain a colonial social structure (with a queen and workers, as do Honey Bees).

A. splendens

A. splendens

A. splendens up close and interested in your point of view

A. obliquus

A. sericeus

A. sericeus all in your business

A. virescens mating in the common entrance of a group burrow

A. virescens with a heavy pollen load on its hind legs

A. virescens cleaning its antennae after feeding

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