First, let’s address their unique name. Some species of sweat bees are attracted to our sweat, alighting on our skin and lapping it up for moisture and salt. If disturbed while doing this, they sometimes sting, though the sting is not very painful. There are over 500 species of sweat bee species north of Mexico. They are difficult to identify and are a very diverse group. Generally, sweat bees are small to medium-sized, usually black or brownish, and a few have metallic greenish or bluish highlights. Species can be solitary, communal, semi-social or eusocial. Interestingly, some species exhibit solitary or eusocial behavior depending on time of year, geographic location, altitude and often unknown factors. Their nests are in burrows in the soil or sometimes rotting wood.
Photo by Kristi DuBois on 4/21/20 in Missoula, MT.