6 Different Types of Sweat Bees (With Pictures)

Different Types of Sweat Bees
Photo by Gary Yost on Unsplash

Sweat bees, also known as halictid bees, are small, solitary bees that can be found worldwide, and there are different types of Sweat bees.

They are named for their attraction to sweat and often forage around humans.

Sweat bees can come in many colors, shapes, and sizes and can be important pollinators of flowers and crops.

This blog post explores the different types of sweat bees and provides information about their behavior, nesting habits, and more.

Read on to learn about the different types of sweat bees!

When we think of bees, we usually picture honeybees, bumblebees, and maybe even carpenter bees.

However, there’s another type of bee that doesn’t get as much attention: sweat bees.

These tiny insects are known for their attraction to human sweat, which they use as a source of nutrients.

But did you know that there are many species of sweat bees? In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the most common types of Sweat bees, their unique characteristics, and what sets them apart from other bee species.

1. Lasioglossum Sweat Bees

Lasioglossum Sweat Bees
by Martin Cooper Ipswich is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Lasioglossum is one of the most diverse group types of sweat bees, with over 1000 known species.

These small bees are usually less than 1 cm long and can be easily identified by their dark-colored bodies, with narrow, shiny hair bands on their abdomen.

One of the interesting things about Lasioglossum bees is that they are solitary, which means they do not form colonies like other bees, such as honeybees.

Instead, they prefer to live alone in small holes or burrows in the ground or in small crevices in rocks or walls.

Lasioglossum bees are also known for their role as pollinators. They visit various flowers to collect pollen and nectar, which they use as food for their offspring.

These bees are important pollinators for blueberries, strawberries, and alfalfa.

To attract Lasioglossum sweat bees to your garden, it is important to plant various flowers that bloom throughout the season, as these bees are active from early spring to late fall.

Providing nesting sites such as small piles of soil or bare patches of ground can also encourage these bees to reside in your garden.

If you have a problem with Lasioglossum sweat bees, it is important to avoid using pesticides as they can harm these important pollinators.

Instead, try to control their nesting sites or use natural remedies such as garlic or hot pepper spray to deter them from areas they are not wanted.

2. Halictus Sweat Bees

Halictus Sweat Bees
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Halictus sweat bees are a diverse group of small to medium-sized bees, typically metallic green or blue.

They are also known as “sweat bees” because they are often attracted to human perspiration and can be found hovering around sweating people.

Halictus sweat bees are common in gardens, meadows, and forests across North America, Europe, and Asia.

They are important pollinators for various plants, including fruits, vegetables, and wildflowers. There are over 500 species of Halictus types of Sweat bees, and they vary in size and behavior.

Some species are solitary and build their nests in soil, while others are social and form large colonies in underground burrows.

In addition to their role as pollinators, Halictus sweat bees are also important predators of other insects, including aphids and caterpillars.

They capture their prey using their sharp mandibles and stingers.

To attract Halictus sweat bees to your garden, consider planting flowers that produce nectar and pollen, such as asters, coneflowers, and goldenrod.

You can also create nesting sites for solitary species by leaving patches of bare soil in sunny areas of your yard.

While Halictus sweat bees are generally not aggressive and rarely sting humans, they can become territorial and defensive of their nests if disturbed.

If you have a large colony of sweat bees on your property and need to remove them, it is best to consult a professional pest control service.

3. Augochlora Sweat Bees

Augochlora Sweat Bees
by schizoform is licensed under CC BY 2.0

One of the most common types of Sweat bees is the Augochlora Sweat Bee. These bees are small, usually 4-7 mm long, and have metallic green or blue-green bodies. 

The Augochlora Sweat Bees are native to the Americas and can be found in many habitats, including gardens, meadows, and forests.

These bees are solitary creatures, usually building their nests in the soil or in pre-existing holes in wood. 

When it comes to diet, the Augochlora Sweat Bee primarily feeds on nectar and pollen from a variety of plants.

They are known to be particularly attracted to flowers with a blue or purple hue, and they are important pollinators for many plant species. 

To attract Augochlora Sweat Bees to your garden, you can plant asters, black-eyed Susans, and sunflowers. These flowers provide a good source of nectar and pollen for the bees. 

While the Augochlora Sweat Bees are not aggressive, they can sting if threatened or disturbed.

If you have a problem with sweat bees on your property, it’s important to prevent them from nesting in areas where people or pets might contact them. 

Overall, the Augochlora Sweat Bees are a fascinating species of bee that plays an important role in the ecosystem.

By providing them with suitable habitats and food sources, we can help to ensure that they continue to thrive and benefit our environment.

4. Megachilidae spp

The family Megachilidae includes a variety of solitary bees, also known as leaf-cutter bees. While not all species within this family are sweat bees, some feed on the salt in human sweat. 

One example of a Megachilidae species that may be mistaken for a sweat bee is the Megachile rotundata, also known as the alfalfa leafcutter bee.

This bee has a shiny black body and may feed on the salt in human sweat, but it is not known to sting humans. 

It’s important to note that not all Megachilidae species are attracted to human sweat, and not all are aggressive toward humans.

Many are important pollinators of plants, such as alfalfa, tomatoes, and blueberries. 

When identifying sweat bees, it’s important to look at the specific genus and species to determine if they are known to feed on sweat and if they pose a threat to humans.

5. Agapostemon Sweat Bees

Agapostemon Sweat Bees - Different Types of Sweat Bees
by Thomas Shahan is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Agapostemon sweat bees, also known as metallic green sweat bees, are a particularly colorful and unique type of sweat bee.

As the name suggests, they have a bright, metallic green sheen to their bodies that sets them apart from other species.

These types of Sweat bees are most commonly found in North America’s eastern and central regions but can also be found as far west as Arizona and Colorado.

One interesting fact about Agapostemon sweat bees is that they are solitary bees, meaning they don’t live in large colonies like honey bees.

Instead, they nest individually in soil or cavities in wood, using mud or plant fibers to construct their nests.

They typically lay their eggs in late spring or early summer, and their offspring emerge as adults in the summer or fall.

Like all sweat bees, Agapostemon sweat bees feed on nectar and pollen and play an important role in pollinating flowers and crops. They are particularly attracted to flowers with a bright yellow color.

Despite their intimidating appearance, Agapostemon sweat bees are not typically aggressive and are unlikely to sting unless they feel threatened.

If you encounter an Agapostemon sweat bee, it’s best to stay calm and avoid swatting or startling the bee.

Overall, Agapostemon sweat bees are a fascinating and important type worth learning about.

If you’re interested in attracting these bees to your garden, planting flowers with a bright yellow color is a great way to start.

6. Dialictus Sweat Bees

Dialictus Sweat Bees - Different Types of Sweat Bees
by JKehoe_Photos is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Another common type of sweat bee is the Dialictus sweat bee. They are a bit smaller, typically measuring only about 5mm long.

They are commonly found in the eastern United States, and their bodies are often dark metallic green or blue.

Dialictus sweat bees are solitary bees, meaning they don’t form colonies like other bee species.

Instead, they build their nests in the ground, typically in sandy soil. These bees are important pollinators, especially for plants like sunflowers and blueberries.

While Dialictus sweat bees are not typically aggressive toward humans, they may sting if threatened.

Their stingers are not barbed, so they can stinger multiple times to defend themselves.

If you encounter Dialictus sweat bees in your garden or while you’re outside, try not to disturb them. They are beneficial to the ecosystem, and they play an important role in pollination.

However, if you get stung, remove the stinger and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling and pain.

See medical attention immediately if you experience an allergic reaction or severe symptoms.


Sweat bees may be small, but they play a big role in pollinating various plant species.

With different types of sweat bees in North America alone, it’s important to recognize the different variations.

From the metallic green Agapostemon sweat bees to the solitary nesting Dialictus sweat bees, each type of sweat bee brings something unique to the ecosystem.

By learning more about these fascinating insects, we can better appreciate and protect their vital contributions to our environment.

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