The very last cacti to be blooming in my yard is a giant barrel cactus. These cacti are the last to bloom. And they are FULL of pollen. The bees that are out love em. I saw some heavy…okay, maybe not heavy, but some bee activity going on in my barrel cactus flower. I stopped washing the dishes, grabbed my camera and ran outside to check it out. There were three small to medium sized amazingly metallic green bees.
They were Augochlora species. These bees look like Agapostemen except the Augochlora are a bit smaller and their abdomens are robust. Male Agapostemen also have yellow and black striped abdomens. Both of these types of bees are in the family Halictidae, which are commonly referred to as the ‘sweat bees.’ They are called this because of their behavior. When you sweat these little bees will fly around you, land where there is sweat (usually on your arm on the other side of your elbow) and slurp it up. Most people won’t even notice them. Some are VERY small. And if you noticed them, odds are you thought they were flies. When I am out in the field I sometimes find one that just won’t leave me alone. I’m flattered, but really. I have to work bees!
These particular bees did not want my sweat that morning. They were just interested in the two pollen filled flowers. The flower above was not fully open, but that did not stop them. This bee just wiggled through, down to the bottom. They will miss the flowers once the plant is done blooming. I will also miss these metallic wonders when it is time for them to go. Goodbear also got some great shots of these pollen loving, sweat slurping bees.