Striped Sweat Bees are large, metallic green bees that are active all summer on a variety of flowers.
All 4 species of Agapostemon known from the northeast have been found in VT, with two confirmed on iNaturalist. The female of the most widespread species (Bicolored) is distinctive, while the other three species are less common and hard to separate. Like other Halictidae, males don’t appear until the end of the flight period – late July in VT.
Genus level ID
Female Bicolored Striped Sweat Bee are instantly recognizable (with practice), and as a group the males are unique and colorful. Females of the remaining three species are similar to the other shiny green bees – see the Augochlorini page for details.
Unless otherwise specified, photos are courtesy of Margarita Miklasevskaja at PCYU with funding from NSERC-CANPOLIN.
Bicolored Striped Sweat Bee (Agapostemon virescens) – Abundant and widespread. The green, black, and white combo is as striking as it is distinctive. Males can occasionally be determined from photos by the black underside of the abdomen (yellowish in the other species). A communal ground nester and host to multiple Blood Bees and Nomad Cuckoos.
Silky Striped Sweat Bee (Agapostemon sericeus) -Widespread, though not as common as the Bicolored. Females can show some white hair in stripes on the abdomen, but the background color is bright green, not black as in Bicolored.
Texas Striped Sweat Bee (Agapostemon texanus) – Uncommon with an affinity for sand. Most records are near larger rivers. Very similar to Silky and Brown-winged – probably the least likely of the three to be identified from photos.
Brown-winged Striped Sweat Bee (Agapostemon splendens) – First found in 2019, this species is closely tied to areas of deep sand and so far only known from a few areas of outwash sand along the lower Winooski River. The dark wings on both sexes and the massive hind tibia of the male, make it plausible this species could be confirmed from photos.
Please note that many of our datasets have not been published yet, so the maps are incomplete.