Agapostemon, Gretel Kiefer

Agapostemon, Gretel Kiefer

Family: Halictidae

Genus: Agapostemon

Common Name: Green Sweat Bees

Length:  7-15 mm (0.3-0.6 in)

Link to DiscoverLife: Agapostemon

Identification:  Agapostemon are a striking bright metallic green or blue, and most have a bright green head and thorax and a black and yellow striped abdomen, but some females are entirely bright green. The females carry pollen on the scopae on their hind legs. Agapostemon are noted for being fast fliers.

Foraging Habits: Generalists. They have short tongues and therefore have trouble with deep flowers.

Nesting Habits:  Agapostemon are solitary and communal. They dig deep vertical burrows in flat or sloping soils and sometimes in banks. In communal nests there will be a guard bee who blocks the entrance with her body.

Specimens in Collection: 97 specimens

Species Observed: Agapostemon virescens, Agapostemon texanus, Agapostemon anglicus

Supplemental Images: Agapostemon virescens, Agapostemon texanus 

(Mader et al. Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies. 2011. The Xerces Society.)

These Agapostemon slowly and precisely circumnavigate the flower heads again and again in search for pollen, digging their heads down to reach pollen lower on the anthers. Note the heavy-laden orange scopae on their back legs, signifiying a good day’s work. More videos of bees visiting Echinacea can be found on The Echinacea Project Youtube. 

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