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Sweat Bees

Beguiling Facts About Sweat Bees

Have you ever wondered why some bees are attracted to your skin? These are sweat bees and are found all over the world. They are very small in size and are often confused for the common house fly.
Rohini Mohan
Last Updated: Feb 10, 2018
Bees are fascinating creatures, they feed on nectar and pollen from flowering plants. Bees all across the world are a great boon to nature, as they help in pollinating the seeds of various plants and induce vegetation. Sweat bees are a type, commonly found in America and have a painless and harmless bee sting. They are flying insects, and a major source of our honey consumption.
What are Sweat Bees
These bees are a species belonging to the vast 'Hymenoptera' family of insects, which happens to be the largest congregation of insects such as wasps, ants, bees and sawflies. These bees are specifically from the family of 'Halictidae', and are found all over the world except in Southeast Asia and Australia. These bees differ in size, and can range anywhere from small to medium-sized bees (4 mm - 8 mm). They come in a variety of colors, usually metallic, black, brown, green, or red. The males have a distinct yellow face, common among many species of bees. These bees are named so, because they are attracted to the human sweat or perspiration. They have extended hairy hind legs, which often make people mistake them for bumblebees. These hairy legs carry, pollen and nectar from flowers to the hive.
Does This Bee Sting or Pinch?
The males bite or pinch, while the females sting, when we attempt to remove them from our skin. The Schmidt Sting Pain Index places the intensity of this bees bite or sting on a low/minor pain of 1.0. The reason for these bees to be attracted to perspiration, is because they collect the pollens and salt from the sweat on our skins and other living beings. Sweat attracted bees come from the Apidae class of bees, which have usually painless stings. Like some types of flying insects such as house fly; this species of bee, comes to drink the salt off the skin, when it gets dry and hot.
Halictidae Bees
Unlike other types of bees, the sweat bees being typical halictids, make their hive underground or inside tree trunks or hollow wood. They make solitary nests, which will hold only one female bee at a time.However,sometimes the hive may contain a group of female queen bees, who nest together in separate cells within a single nest. These nests do not hold more than a few bees at a time, and they nest in proximity to one another. Therefore, one usually finds a bunch of nests built together underground or in shrubbery roots. Their nests have many entrances and exit routes, which are always guarded by a few bees.
How To Get Rid of Sweat Bees
If these bees are a potential threat to your health and safety, then destroying their underground nests, would be the best option. People with allergies, must steer clear of bees and other flying insects, as the chemical released by its sting might cause fatal allergic reactions to these people. If there are bees close to the pool, in your garden, or if there are bees in house and you wish to remove them; you will have to first trace out their nests. Once you do that, take some Diazinon or simple liquid detergent and sprinkle the chemical into and around the entrance. Do the sprinkling only at night, because they are the most inactive at that time. This will make them evacuate and abandon their nests. Remember to cover yourself with a protective gear, such as thick clothes, jackets, boots and mask your face and head. If the nest is still occupied, then repeat the process, the chemical will eventually kill the bees. If you are too scared to do this on your own, then call a bee-keeper who will gas the area for you and that will prevent these bees from revisiting that area again. In case you do get stung, do not worry, their sting is absolutely harmless and weak. It's always good to know what to do , if a bee stings you.
All bees including the sweat bees, are extremely crucial for maintaining the balance of the Eco-system, as they play an integral role in pollination and keeping the vegetation alive. Many prefer to keep them alive and even let them breed, for helping the growth of their garden vegetation. They mustn't be harmed unnecessarily as the general population of the bee species has fallen drastically. The 'Colony Collapse Disorder' has adversely affected many bee species, since the past decade due to pollution, and toxins in the soil.