SIZE: Sweat bees are small, ranging from 0.125 to 0.5 inches in length, and their small size may prevent many people from noticing their presence. Male sweat bees are typically more slender than females.
COLOR: These bees are known for their metallic coloring. Most are shades of green, blue and bronze, although some are a dull, metallic black.
BEHAVIOR: Sweat can sometimes occur in large numbers, but they are not typically aggressive. They have short tongues, which come in handy for lapping up human sweat, which has earned them their name. A sting usually only occurs if a bee is pressed against the skin, and according to the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, a sweat bee has the least painful sting of all stinging insects.
These bees are equal-opportunity pollinators, and they will pollinate virtually any type of available flower. They play an important role in pollinating the native plants of the areas they inhabit. Females are equipped to carry pollen on the backs of their legs, although males are not.
Sweat bees pollinate wildflowers and various crops, including stone fruits, alfalfa and sunflowers. According to the United States Agricultural Department, sweat bees have more complex digestive and detoxification systems than other bees in order to handle and process the different types of pollen they collect.
These bees are found throughout the world, and there are more than 1,000 species in the United States, Canada and Central America, including 44 species in Florida alone. These bees thrive in temperate regions but are widespread throughout the United States.
Like other bee species, sweat bees may be solitary or eusocial, meaning they live in colonies with each bee performing a specific role. It depends on the species. Sweat bees live underground and burrow holes below the soil. Solitary bees live in individual cells located far apart from one another. Eusocial bees, on the other hand, live in cells that are much closer together.
In eusocial colonies, the mated female, known as a gyne, is the queen. She digs burrows underground and carves out cells, then fills each cell with pollen and places an egg inside. Eventually, the eggs turn into larvae and then pupae. Then the worker bees come out of the pupae stage. worker bees will emerge from these eggs. One worker bee guards the colony, while the others dig additional burrows and the queen returns to laying eggs.
The only task of the male sweat bee is to mate with females.
Tips for Control
Sweat bees do not generally pose a threat to people, perhaps with the exception of hot summer days when they may seek out sweat to supplement their diets. However, they can be a nuisance if they swarm in large numbers around your home. Still, it’s important to remember their critical role as pollinators and to allow them to perform their tasks undisturbed if possible.
Additionally, because some species burrow underground and may fly a long distance, colonies can be difficult to track down. If you need help getting rid of a sweat bee infestation near your home, contact a bee removal company. Or, you can contact Terminix® and we can help you find a solution.