Green Sweat Bee

Spring has sprung and bees are buzzing. Honeybees forage during winter’s warmer days, but native bees take a break from their duties, being safely tucked away in nests of wood or soil, or waiting to emerge from enclosures of plants. As days lengthen and warm, they make their way into gardens. This early spring, I’ve observed several native bee species that I regularly see during the growing season. The first ones who show up to work are the tiny black carpenter bees (Ceratina), followed by a variety of Green Sweat bees, like this emerald beauty, perhaps an Osmia ribifloris.

This type of metallic green bee belongs to the Halictidae family of bees and are common in gardens with a variety of flowers for nectaring and pollen gathering. Bees who forage from a wide array of plants are polylectic. As they visit flowers, females gather pollen on their legs (which you can see in the photos) for their nests. This one is working the blooms of Giant Spiderwort, Tradescantia, but I’ve seen her kind on other flowers.

Her whole body is curled around the anther of the bloom where the pollen is located, all-in to her goal of gathering pollen. A front on photo, while not crystal clear, allows us to glimpse her face. She looks determined in her work, as she packs her little legs full of golden pollen.

These shiny, metallic bees are fast flyers, but observable and not at all rare. They and their cousin metallic bees love a blooming garden.

If you plant them, they will come.

8 thoughts on “Green Sweat Bee

    • Interesting about the word. I know some native bees, while solitary in their nesting, do form colonies. Maybe these are those? I would have named them something reflecting their gorgeous coloring, but then, no one ask me for my opinion–I’m just glad to see them in the garden.


  1. I do love the metallic bees. I’ve not seen any blue ones yet this year, but I think I might have seen the green; it could have been a fly of some sort. I’ve seen a good number of small bees with black and white (or gray) striped abdomens: the sort that carry pollen on their bellies. And of course there were bumblebees galore around the Texas mountain laurel and Wisteria. I enjoy the sight of the metallic bees, but I love the sounds of the bumble bees.


    • They are gorgeous and fun to watch. I don’t know what the very little ones are; they tend blue/green in color and are also fast flyers. It’s sometimes hard to distinguish the flies from the bees and many flies have that iridescent thing going.

      I love the buzz of the bumbles! I don’t usually see them until late spring, I’m a little envious, that you’ve seen them so early this year.

      Liked by 1 person

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