|Halictid Bee – Agapostemon virescens|
Family Halictidae — Halictid Bees
Insects & Spiders | Bees & Wasps Index | Bees & Wasps Main | Beetles Index
Live adult bees photographed in the wild at various North American locations. Size: 6-8mm
A large group of insects in the Superfamily Apoidea are commonly known as bees. They are specialized for gathering nectar and pollen from flowering plants. There are more than 3,500 species of bees in North America, about 500 of which form the family Halictidae.
In many species, the tongue is long and pointed, adapted for probing into flowers. All bees are covered with hair, to which pollen sticks when flowers are visited; most female bees have apparatus for gathering this pollen; it is combed into a special basket or brush located on the hind legs. Males do not collect pollen and lack these structures. There are many species, especially the parasitic bees, that have no pollen baskets.
Most bees are solitary — each female constructing a nesting tunnel underground or in plant materials. She stocks the brood cells with pollen and nectar for the larvae to eat after hatching. Honey bees and bumblebees, however, are social insects — They live in colonies consisting of a fertile queen, sterile female worker bees, and male bees (drones). These are the only bees known to produce honey, and they are the only bees which will sting readily in defense of their colonies.
Order Hymenoptera: Bees, Wasps, & Ants