You’ve probably come across at least one horror story about a hiker who had an encounter with a swarm of bees because he chose the wrong log of wood as a back-rest, or a friend who simply could not get rid of that one bee that wouldn’t leave his sandwich alone or someone finding a terrifying nest dangling by their backyard or even someone getting in trouble because they were mowed over a nest of ground bees while mowing the lawn! It’s an all too familiar tale of bees and humans both being victimized at the same time. As common-sense dictates, it’s always better to steer clear of the bee population and especially the sweat bees.
Sweat bees are one of the most common bees in North America, with a majority of the population thriving around the eastern United States. Sweat bees are extremely diverse in appearance and hence spotting them is important to identify whether or not they mean trouble. Although they can be annoying, they are some of the prettiest bees within the bee family. While the majority of the sweat bee population slender bees, some tend to be on the more robust side. They vary in color from dull to metallic black with a few on the metallic blue and metallic green shades. Now that we know how to spot the bees, let’s see if they live around your neighborhood.
Sweat bees have different species under them all of which are largely social hence nesting habits vary from ground dwelling to invading other nests of other bees. Most sweat bees nest underground. Some tend to build nests inside rotting wood, that resembles the underground nests. There are also a few parasitic sweat bees who depend on other species of bees to survive, which does not build nests of any kind. Sweat bees usually nest near areas abundant in water bodies as well as close to woods. Sweat bee nests generally have one tunnel like structure from which multiple clusters of cells branch out. Some of these nests have guard bees all around the clock.
The parasitic sweat bee species who does not bother with making their own nests, the females bees occupy the nests of some other species of bees and lay their eggs inside. These sweat bee larva kills the larva of the original occupants and eats away all their food.
Some groups of sweat bees make their nests on almost rotten, soft materials like rotten logs or gaps between rows of recently planted garden.
REASONS WHY SWEAT BEES ARE NESTING AROUND YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
- Water: If there are sources of water around you then sweat bees will find it extremely tempting since they need water to feed their young, build their nests and to drink.
- Woods: woods are more likely to have logs lying around with varying levels of degradation, hence more ideal for making new nests.
- Garden: sweat bees are master pollinators and hence cannot give up the smell of enticing flowers also, the freshly displaced soil increases the chances of finding new underground nesting spots.
The colonies within the nests are typically small,
The four major species are Rophitinae ,Nomiinae, Nomioidinae and Halictinae.