Posts Tagged: Agapostemon texanus
Beekeepers describe their honey bees as "my girls" or "my beautiful girls."
It's a term of endearment.
Now take the green metallic sweat bee, Agapostemon texanus. If honey bees are beautiful (and they are) then these bees are spectacular.
Sometimes called ultra green sweat bees, the females are metallic green from head to thorax to abdomen. The males, however, are metallic green from head to thorax. Their abdomens are striped.
This is one of the bees that native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, studies. When he monitors the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, the half-acre bee friendly garden next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis, he finds these periodically.
The Agapostemon are members of the Halictinae family, described in the book, Bees of the World, by Christopher O'Toole and Christopher Raw, as a world-wide group of bees. They are "often called sweat bees because in hot weather they are attracted to human perspiration, which they lap up, probably for the salt it contains," they write.
Some of the family's many genera, including Agapostemon, are restricted to the New World. Halictus and Lasioglossum "are common to the Old and New Worlds," according to O'Toole and Raw.
We captured these images below at the Mostly Natives Nursery in Tomales, Marin County./span>/span>
Male sweat bee, Agapostemon texanus, on purple coneflower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Note the metallic green head and thorax of a male sweat bee, Agapostemon texanus. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Spotted cucumber beetle (a pest) and male sweat bee, Agapostemon texanus, sharing a purple coneflower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
It's St. Patrick's Day tomorrow and time for "The Wearing of the Green."
"The Wearing of the Green" is actually an Irish street ballad dating back to the Irish Rebellion of 1798. The author: anonymous. The color of choice: green. Members of the Society of United Irishmen wore green shamrocks to display their loyalty to the rebellion.
Now take insects. Tomorrow, if you're lucky, you might see some "wearing of the green." But not likely, unless you're visiting a museum and see pinned specimens. The metallic green sweat bees, Agapostemon texanus, aren't out yet in this part of the country.
Very striking, they are. The females are all green. The males are partly green; their head and thorax are green, but not their abdomen.
Still, Saturday, March 17 is a good day to think green!
Male green sweat bee, Agapostemon texanus, nectaring on a seaside daisy, Erigeron glaucus Wayne Roderick at Tomales Bay. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of metallic green sweat bee, a male. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Female metallic green sweat bee, Agapostemon texanus, at the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
There's something so magical and captivating about the metallic green sweat bee.
Shouldn't it be yellow? No.
Is it a bee? Yes.
Does it attract attention? Definitely.
We spotted this male green sweat bee, Agapostemon texanus, on what is commonly known as a Seaside daisy, Erigeron glaucus Wayne Roderick. This is a lavender-petaled flower with a yellow center.
The location: the Mostly Natives Nursery, Tomales.
Wayne Roderick (1920-2003) who developed many cultivars, served as head of the California Native Section at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden for some 24 years. He retired as director of the East Bay Regional Parks Botanic Garden at Tilden.
His name is legendary among horticulturists.
So is the Erigeron glaucus Wayne Roderick--especially when a metallic green sweat bee visits it.
Green Metallic Sweat Bee
The Eyes Have It