Sweat Bee

Actual Size: 0.4-1.1 cm

Characteristics: Metallic black, green, blue, or purple. Slender.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Live underground or in rotting wood.


  • Called “sweat bees” because they are drawn to human sweat.
  • Pollinate wildflowers and crops.
  • Generally docile and don’t sting people.

Sweat Bees in South Carolina

This family of insects is very diverse. Most of them are very slender in appearance and usually a metallic black color. They can also be a beautiful metallic green, blue, or purple color. Sweat bees are not very large, ranging from 0.4-1.1 cm in length. Sweat bee adults eat nectar. Larvae eat pollen or nectar that was collected or stored for them by adults, or if they are parasitoid larvae, they eat whatever host they are laid on; this will be some other insect or arthropod. Sweat bees can be very diverse in their social behaviors. Some of them can be solitary, some can live in small groups, or some can have colonies where each member depends on one another for survival.

Sweat Bee Habitat

Most sweat bees live in the ground. There are some species that live in rotting wood, and there are others that are parasitoids [lay eggs in or on other creatures/hosts to be eaten by sweat bee larvae (juveniles)].

Sweat Bee Behaviors, Threats, & Dangers

These insects are beneficial pollinators and need to be promoted as such. That being said, some species in this family can be attracted to sweat, hence the name sweat bee. If you brush them away or swat at them it could result in a sting. The sting of a sweat bee is not extremely painful, but it is one reason these bees are feared. If you are not allergic to the venom no serious issues will manifest. Always call a professional bee control expert for help with red paper wasps.

Need help with Sweat Bee control?

Related pest

Carpenter Bee

Honey Bee

Paper Wasp


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