The aptly named Sweat Bee derives its name from its tendency to be attracted to the salt that is secreted in human perspiration. So when it comes to avoiding them, the expression “Don’t sweat it” quite literally applies.
This bee is part of a cosmopolitan family of insects, many of whom display a dazzling array of colors. There are approximately 1,000 known varieties of Sweat Bee, the majority of which are endemic to either Canada, the United States or Central America.
All known species of Sweat Bee are relatively small compared to other bees.
Sweat Bee Physical Characteristics
The various species of this bee attain lengths of 0.12-0.4 in (3-10 mm). Most varieties present a variety of bright colors, often mimicking other bee types. However, a few species are dark in color. Some of the brighter colors they present include vibrant reds, greens, and yellows.
The Sweat Bees does possess a stinger and venom, but rarely sting unless directly threatened. However, their venom is extremely mild, and usually only generates discomfort similar to that of a mosquito bite.
Sweat Bee Ecology
The majority are eusocial insects, possessing a queen and a worker caste. A few are also kleptoparasites. These lay their eggs in the nest of other bees, and the hatchlings steal the food supplies of the host nest. Not too cool but nature can be cruel.
Most types of Sweat Bee construct their nest on the ground, though a few will make their nests in rotted wood. Though these insects are pollen feeders, it still remains unknown whether they play a role in pollination.