Category Archives: Agapostemon

Meet the Pollinators: Pollinator Syndromes

One thing I love about walking around a garden is guessing what kind of animal each type of plant relies on for pollination. This is because plants that rely on certain types of animal pollinators are often adapted to be particularly attractive to that type of animal, a phenomenon known as “pollinator syndromes.” The following slides are from a poster I made showcasing pollinator syndromes. Once you read these, you can be an expert, too!

Beetles

Flies

Butterflies

Birds

Bats

Wasps

Bees

Meet the Pollinators

A Closer Look at Sweat Bees (Halictidae)

Sweat bees have been weighing on my mind lately. I stumbled across this post, which I thought was well written and informative. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

ferrebeekeeper

Sweat bees are tiny bees of the family Halictidae.  They take their common name from their affinity for human sweat, which they lap off of our naked skin for the salts and electrolytes therein. Sweat bees are small (at least to us) and tend to measure between 3 and 10 millimeters in length. A few species have thick robust bodies, but most are slender and delicate.  They tend to be glossy black, but some have exoskeletons which are gorgeous shades of metallic gold, green, purple, or blue.

The majority of sweat bee species nest in the ground (although a few build their homes in dead trees).  The social behavior of sweat bees runs the entire gamut of bee conduct: the University of Florida Department of Entomology Website states, “species can be solitary, communal, semi-social, or eusocial.”  Sweat bees therefore greatly interest entomologists who are studying the development of eusocial insects—those…

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Small Bees, Huge Bees, Green Bees, Blue Bees (Part I)

Well, it’s been a busy summer, but some kind words of encouragement convinced me to start posting to my bee blog again. I think, to get warmed up, I’ll just post some photos I took over the summer that encompass some of the many sizes and colors different bees come in.

Although many bees are yellow and black striped, some come in beautiful hues. Take this bee I saw in Tahoe National Forest this August:

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Green Bee on Wyethia angustifolia (c) MRS 2012

I don’t know what species of bee this is since I didn’t collect it to key it out, but it was a beautiful green metallic color with pink undertones.

The most common green bee that I encounter here on the West Coast is Agapostemon texanus, the green metallic sweat bee. The females are entirely green, while the males have a black and yellow striped abdomen. Here’s a beautiful photo of a male Agapostemon texanus from wikipedia.org:

 

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Agapostemon texanus, from Maricopa Co., Arizona, USA.