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green sweat bee

green sweat bee (Augochloropsis metallica)
Photo © Rob Curtis, The Early Birder

Features and Behaviors

These bees have a shiny, metallic-green appearance and are about one-third of an inch in length. Their tongue is short, so they visit mainly flowers that are open and flat, as opposed to tube-shaped. Like all bees, they have a thick body with the division between the thorax and abdomen easily seen, four wings, hairs, stocky legs, long antennae and eyes on the side of the head.

Green sweat bees feed on the nectar of flowers and the honeydew of aphid colonies. They are active April through September and nest colonially in soil, meaning that many bees use a single entrance in the ground, but branch out to build their own nest. Members of this genus are unusual in that the pollen loaves that they form for their developing larvae to eat are cube-shaped instead of loaf-shaped. This species is active from March to November.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Halictidae

Illinois Status: common, native