Guest blog by April Hamblin an MS student in our lab who is often sweating in the urban heat as she conducts research to determine how urbanization affects native bee communities. She writes periodic posts here and on yourwildlife.com about her research and bee natural history.
Do you sweat in this North Carolina heat and humidity? If you sweat enough, beautiful bees may come by and give you a light kiss. These bees in the family Halictidae are known as sweat bees because they drink the salts from your sweat. They are very small and often mistaken as flies. If swatted at, many have stingers so small that they cannot penetrate our skin, but if they do, you may feel a tiny twinge of pain that soon leaves as fast as the bees fly away. So when you’re outside this summer sweating up a storm, watch for your friend and important pollinator, the sweat bee.
While many sweat bees are dark black and blue, some are even green! This common species, Augochlora pura, is found in North Carolina along with over 500 species of native bees! In this photograph, this sweat bee is extending her tongue to the left, which is how she would suck the salts from your sweat. Photographed by Sam Droege, USGA. For more beautiful photographs of native bees, please visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/