Small Sweat Bees
Most of the species nest underground. They emerge in mid spring and will forage throughout
the summer. They are generalists and will forage on a wide variety of plants.
Because of their small size they are often mistaken for flies as they swarm sometimes in their hundreds over
flowers in gardens or meadows, visiting a variety of plants. The different species are also often difficult to
distinguish. The males often have a distinct yellow face, which is a common trait among many species of bees.
They have extended hairy hind legs, which often make people mistake some of the bigger species for
bumblebees. The hairs on their legs collect pollen which is carried back to the nest, while also pollinating the
plants they visit.
|Small Sweat Bee
||Woodland, gardens and orchards
||Hair sparse. Abdomen usually without white hair
bands. Head and thorax often weakly metallic.
||3 - 9 mm
Many species are solitary, that is, the female builds and occupies its nest alone. This is considered the basic,
most primitive nesting behaviour. In some sweat bee species, females nest communally, sharing a common nest
entrance but constructing cells individually.
The males bite or pinch, while the females sting when pinched or removed roughly from the skin as it
collects salt from our skin. The sting from a sweat bee however is much less painful than that from a honey bee.
The bee's basic nutritional requirements are similar to those of humans; they need proteins, carbohydrates,
minerals, fats/lipids, vitamins, and water. Learn More!
Take this quick quiz and see how much you know about Bumble Bees—our favorite essential pollinators
working around the world. This quiz is intended for fun, in a random-facts-can-be-cool kind of way.
Wild bees need our help. Many populations are declining due to habitat loss, disease and pesticide poisoning.
Each of us can create habitat to support local bee populations.