The genus Agapostemon (literally "stamen loving") is a common group of Western Hemisphere sweat bees.

Agapostemon texanus male
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Halictidae
Tribe: Halictini
Genus: Agapostemon
Guérin-Méneville, 1844

They are members of the family of bees known as Halictidae. Unlike other sweat bees, they are not attracted to human sweat.[1] They are generally green or blue, especially the head and thorax. Sometimes the abdomen in females is green or blue, although it may be striped, and most males have the yellow-striped abdomen on a black or metallic background. They superficially resemble various members of another tribe, the Augochlorini, which are also typically metallic green.

Nesting edit

All species of Agapostemon nest in the ground, sometimes in dense aggregations. Some species are communal, such as A. virescens. In this and other communal species, multiple females share the same nest entrance, but beneath the common entrance burrow, they construct their own portion of the nest. Thus, each female digs her own brood cells and collects pollen and nectar to fashion the pollen ball upon which she will lay an egg.

Unlike other social bees, in communal bees there is no reproductive division of labor. The advantage of this form of sociality seems to be that kleptoparasitic Nomada cuckoo bees have greater difficulty gaining access to the nest and brood cells when there are multiple females inside.[citation needed]

Range edit

A. angelicus

Some 42 species in the genus range from Canada to Argentina. In cool temperate regions, there is one generation per year, with females active in the early summer and males and pre-diapausing females active in the late summer. Only mated females survive the winter. This is probably because unmated females cannot enter diapause.[2] Males can often be seen in large numbers flying around shrubs with large flowers, such as Rose of Sharon. Agapostemon angelicus is native to the Texas high plains. They specialized in being pollinators for cotton.[3] They can serve as a replacement for honey bees in pollination.[4]

Types of flight edit

Like other bees, A. texanus can fly from a short or long distance. Their flight patterns usually rely on flower density; they favor flowers with high densities. Their flight patterns best resemble those of the bumble bee and the honey bee.[5]

Species edit

Over 40 species of Agapostemon have been identified:[6]

References edit

  1. ^ "Attracting Native Pollinators" (2011), The Xerces Society
  2. ^ Yanega, D. (1989-02-01). "Caste determination and differential diapause within the first brood of Halictus rubicundus in New York (Hymenoptera: Halictidae)". Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 24 (2): 97–107. doi:10.1007/bf00299641. ISSN 0340-5443.
  3. ^ Berger, L.A (23 March 1984). "Seasonal Cycles of Agapostemon angelicus Cockerell Relative to Hybrid Cottonseed Production in Texas (Hymenoptera: Halictidae)". Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society: 1–8.
  4. ^ Berger, L.A. (23 March 1984). "Seasonal Cycles of Agapostemon angelicus Cockerell Relative to Hybrid Cottonseed Production in Texas (Hymenoptera: Halictidae)". Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society: 1–8.
  5. ^ Waddington, Keith (28 December 1978). "Flight Patterns of Three Species of Sweat Bees (Halictidae) Foraging at Convolvulus arvenis". Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society: 751–758.
  6. ^ Bisby F.A.; Roskov Y.R.; Orrell T.M.; Nicolson D.; Paglinawan L.E.; Bailly N.; Kirk P.M.; Bourgoin T.; Baillargeon G.; Ouvrard D. (2011). "Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2011 Annual Checklist". Species 2000: Reading, UK. Retrieved September 24, 2012.

External links edit