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Sweat Bees   Halictus spp

Despite their name, only a few species are attracted to human perspiration.  Sweat bees belong to the family Halictidae, which can be found on every continent.  More than 3500 species have been described in 76 genera. In the United States, 16 genera are known, 8 of which have been recorded in Florida.  One of these genera is Halictus with four recorded species.

The Halictus bee is a small to medium-sized bee ranging in size from 0.2-0.6 inches.  They are brown and black with distinctive white bands on the abdomen.  They are important pollinators of flowering plants.  All Halictus species are generalists, meaning they visit a wide variety of plants.

Their life cycle begins when hibernating females wake and emerge in the spring.  They dig new nests in the ground where they lay their eggs.  After the first generation eggs hatch, the daughters remain with their mothers expanding the nest and helping to rear additional generations.  Males are only produced as part of the last generation in late summer or fall.  After mating, the males die and the females go into hibernation over the winter, preparing to start the cycle again in the spring.

The photos on this page show a Halictus poeyi on Tickseed (top two phiotos) and Spanish Needles (left photo).  All  photos were taken in Deep Creek in Charlotte County.