Sweat bees, also referred to as halictid bees, (Halictidae) are so named for their habit of landing on people and licking the perspiration from the skin in order to obtain the salt. Bees in this family are common throughout North America, with over 1,000 species occurring in North and Central America.
Bees in this family are small to medium sized, ranging from 4 to 10 mm. They generally are black or brownish colored; however, there are species of sweat bees that are bright metallic green and some that have brassy yellow or red markings. Males tend to have yellow faces.
Sweat bees build nests in clay soil, sandy banks, and cavities in weeds or shrubs.
- Alternative Pollinators: Native Bees (Lane Greer, 1999, National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service)
- Sweat Bee (Eric Day, September 1999, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia State University)
- Honey Bees, Bumble Bees, Carpenter Bees, and Sweat Bees (R. Wright, P. Mulder, and H. Reed, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service)
- Ground-Nesting Bees and Wasps (William F. Lyon, Ohio State University)
- The dating game: Social behavior of sweat bees evolved with Earth's warming a mere 20 million years ago, Cornell study finds (Susan S. Lang, ChronicleOnline, Cornell University, March 13, 2006)
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