Pure Gold-Green Sweat Bee

Photo by: Bryan Reynolds

Augochlora pura

Augochlora pura is a “solitary” bee species, eschewing the colony lifestyle that we normally associate with bees, in favor of a more individualistic existence. Sweat beesare territorial and will attack each other over nesting space—mothers have attacked theiryoung and males will attack other males if they enter inhabited nests. Nests can be found in vacant insect burrows or rotted wood. Augochlora constructs cells, arranged in rows or clusters, within the nests to store their fertilized eggs. Females watch over the cells to reduce predation by birds and ants.

Pure Green Augochlora Sweat Bees can be observed from April to October pollinating a wide variety of plants, which includes milkweeds, verbena, coneflowers, andspiderworts. Sweat bees often mate while situated on these plants— males search for females that are visiting flowers. Augochlora bees monitor their flowers as vigilantly as they monitor their nests, often being observed on a routine patrol of their flowers.

Augochlora do not have the stereotypical yellow and black bee coloration, but is a “metallic” bee. “Sweat” and “metallic” are both informal classes of bees, but most sweat bees have a glimmering, metallic appearance, and are named sweat bees for their presence around perspiration. Perspiring humans have often reported visits by metallic bees, licking and drinking their sweat!

Along with its unique metallic body color, Augochlora bees have black eyes, limbs, and antennae. Females can be identified by pollen-collecting hairs on their legs, and, in some cases, female stingers visibly protrude from their abdomen

Useful resources to discover more about the Pure Gold-Green Sweat Bee include:

https://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/MISC/BEES/Augochlora_pura.html

https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/pollinator-of-the-month/augochlora_pura.shtml

Featured pollinator plant: Marsh Fleabane Pluchea odorata

Written by: Robert Gibson, an undergraduate Environmental Studies student at the University of Oklahoma