When it comes to dealing with pesky insects, there are no worse times of the year than the summer months.
Because of this, we know that there are too many things out there to name. However, one of the most frustrating insects to deal with is sweat bees.
Some people may not have heard of them, but those who have, know how annoying and frustrating these creatures can be.
Whether they’re uninvited guests at a BBQ or they’re trying to find their way into your home, keeping them away is at the top of a lot of people’s priority lists.
However, that is a lot easier said than done. Are they dangerous? A lot of insects are! What do they want with us?
Who knows! We’re here to explain what sweat bees are, how they work, and how to keep them away.
Hopefully, by the end of our guide, you will be an expert on sweat bees, and you’ll be able to spot them from a mile off.
They shall no longer be a problem for you, leaving you stress-free and able to enjoy the sunshine in peace!
What Does A Sweat Bee Look Like?
One of the easiest ways to stop a sweat bee is to know what they look like first.
If you don’t know what a sweat bee looks like, then you’re going to have a pretty tough time trying to stop them.
There are different species of sweat bee, but the vast majority of them are dark in color.
These shades vary from metallic to dull black with highlights of green, purple, or blue abdomens. These features are accompanied by a sharp tongue and furry legs.
If you see a sweat bee with yellow and black striped abdomens, then it’s a male, rather than a female!
Brief Background On Sweat Bees
Having a greater understanding of sweat bees will give you a better position when trying to keep your environment free from them.
They aren’t so different from other forms of insects!
The scientific name for sweat bees is Halictidae.
The definition of this name is a cosmopolitan family of small black solitary bees, including pollinators valuable to agriculture. How cool!
Body Size And Shape
The shape of these bees’ bodies is very slender, making them a bit thinner than your standard bee.
However, the queen will have a rounder shape and looks different from the other forms of the insect.
The size of these bees is smaller than other variations of bees and is more noticeable because of this fact.
How big are they? Well, they tend to be about 0.5 inches long or less, which makes them quite distinguishable.
These bees are very similar to other bees when it comes to body features.
They have the same number of legs, which bees typically use to carry pollen from flower to flower. They have six legs with lots of fur on them, for pollen to stick to.
The antennae on sweat bees are horn-like in appearance, with two of them present on the insect’s head. These are used for measuring flight speed and used for scent detection.
The Behavior Of Sweat Bees
Much like other bees, this insect can be found in swarms flying near their colony.
However menacing these swarms can look, they are rarely aggressive and will usually keep themselves to themselves.
We know how nervous some people can become when seeing a large formation of bees whizzing around! But, there’s nothing to worry about.
Their short tongues that we mentioned earlier are used for collecting sweat and other liquids.
When these insects are found on the surface of your skin, they are collecting your sweat.
It can feel like a very small pinch, however, these stings are one of the least painful found in the insect world.
Where Are Sweat Bees Around The World?
Also known as Halictid bees, there are over 3,500 species of sweat bees around the globe.
They are found in all different areas, especially in the US, areas of Europe, and North Africa.
Typically found in colonies, this insect can also be found in smaller groups, or even alone. In the United States, there are over 1,000 different species present.
There are around 44 species of this insect in Florida alone. Wow!
The United Kingdom has around 40 different types of sweat bees, which is a lot less than in the United States, however, still a worthy amount to remember.
Where Are Sweat Bee Nests Found?
You might assume that these bees are found in hives within trees and bushes, like lots of their counterparts, however, this is not the case.
Sweat bees are found in soil burrows, where they thrive and spend a lot of their time.
They prefer sunny conditions and warm climates, however, they will also settle for softwood.
Whilst the majority of bee species you might think of are very sociable, some sweat bees are only semi-social, with some being solitary insects.
Because of their attraction toward perspiration and water, they are often found near humans and their homes, which can become increasingly annoying for those in the vicinity.
How Large Are Sweat Bee Colonies?
We all know that beehives can get to a relatively big size, depending on the size of the colony of bees. This is a relatively similar situation with sweat bees.
Depending on the species of sweat bees, they will be more sociable than others. They will burrow into the soil to nest in separate cells, where they can lay their pupae.
Of course, the more sociable the species of sweat bee, the larger you can expect the colony to be.
What Does It Mean When A Bee Lands On You?
Much like with the majority of creatures on this planet, sweat bees will require the right amount of vitamins and minerals so they have a balanced diet.
However, they will have a specific attraction toward sweat when humans perspire. What makes sweat so appealing to sweat bees?
Well, the simple answer is that the salt content in the natural fluids is just too inviting for the sweat bee not to land on your skin!
The reason for this is that the bee will find an easier form of sodium in our sweat than they would in a different form of food source.
However, this doesn’t mean that they will always aim to land on people’s skin, they might look elsewhere.
Do I Need To Worry?
We mentioned earlier that there can be a slight pinch when a sweat bee is collecting its meal from our sweat, however, it is nothing to worry about and they’re not venomous.
People who have been stung by sweat bees will often recall that the sting wasn’t very painful and that it was more of an inconvenience than a stinging pain.
However, we always recommend checking for symptoms out of the ordinary.
Much like with other forms of bees, there can be a chance of an allergic reaction from person to person.
Can Sweat Bees Sting Me?
Although female bees are more likely to sting you than males, they aren’t known to be aggressive. Unlike some other forms of insects, sweat bees aren’t out to get you!
This means that they won’t attack humans with the sole intent of stinging them. They will land on your skin to drink your sweat and then be on their way.
Much like with most forms of insects, if you leave sweat bees alone, then they will leave you alone. They actually present a risk near 0%.
The majority of the time, a sweat bee will sting you if you pose a risk or try to brush them off your skin in an aggressive manner.
How To Treat A Sweat Bee Sting
Once a sweat bee has stung you, it will keep injecting venom for as long as it remains untouched.
It’s important to discard and remove the bee sting as soon as you can to limit the amount of venom injected.
Clean the area with clean water and soap, using ice to reduce any inflammation and swelling.
What Attracts Sweat Bees To Our Skin?
Sweat bees are usually floating about looking for flowers for pollination because they are crucial pollinators throughout the world.
Because of this, they can frequently be seen throughout fields, gardens, and similar environments with lots of flowers and plants present.
So, how do you get rid of sweat bees? The most important thing is safety and making sure you don’t harm yourself or the bees themselves.
After all, these insects are crucial throughout the world of pollination and growing plants.
The best thing to do is remove them from the situation, rather than killing them or hurting them.
Sweat Bee Traps
By giving a quick search through Amazon or by popping down to your nearest garden store, you can find a plethora of different types of bee traps.
Standard bee traps work for a lot of different forms of bees, including sweat bees. Just place something sweet inside of the trap, like honey or sugar water.
This will entice the bee to enter the trap, where the shape of the trap will prevent them from leaving.
From here, with frequent monitoring, you can safely remove the bee from the trap and move them from the area.
As many people will have heard, bee spray can be very effective at keeping bees away from you.
These products will usually be seen more indoors than outdoors because they are more effective within someone’s home.
You can use bee spray outdoors, however, it will be better used indoors.
Ground Bee Insecticide
There are a lot of different insecticides on the market that will prove to be effective against sweat bees.
There are variations, however, that will target those insects that specifically burrow in the ground and make their homes underground.
This can also apply to miner beers. These insecticides are typically liquid-based or powder-based.
This product is applied to the entrance of the nest and will find its way onto the bees, who will carry it further into the colony.
This will also affect the other bees and the queen bee.
Dilute some of the following essential oils with water and apply them to your skin.
Alternatively, you can use a burner placed inside your home or in the affected areas outside, like in your garden.
You can also enjoy the lovely smells and the scents coming from the oil.
Some of the essential oils that you can use include:
- Citronella Oil
- Rosemary Oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Lemon Oil
- Clove Oil
- Eucalyptus Oil
Sweat Bee Repellant
If you’re looking for something that targets sweat bees specifically, then this could be the method for you.
We always recommend using branded products from companies that you recognize for the best results. You can also purchase products over the counter.
Like with other variations of insects, sweat bees have a hard time dealing with strong smells.
Citronella candles, sprays, and rubbing lotions are very useful and can have great results.
These also give you the convenience of applying and using with lots of ease and lack of stress.
Good Personal Hygiene
There are lots of natural ways where you can prevent sweat bees from coming to you. You just need to ensure that you limit the amount of sweat present on your body.
By wearing antiperspirant or deodorant, you can smell great whilst limiting sweat bee attraction! On top of this. You can wash regularly to relieve your skin of salts and fluids.
Wearing Longer Sleeves And Pants
If the weather isn’t too warm, then a good option is to make sure you have less skin on show!
Having less skin available for bees to land on will limit their area to look for sweat and will force them to look elsewhere.
However, it’s worth noting that these bees can crawl under clothing looking for sweat, so it’s not 100% effective.
There are lots of different plants that give off scents and aromas that attract bees. Because of this, you can expect the insects to be drawn to these plants instead of your body.
It’s likely that your garden will be the area where the bees will be seen, so you can plant any of the following plants to create a nice-looking area and a good defense.
- Black-eyed Susan
This is an easy method that can be found online at places like Amazon, where you can easily compare products and brands.
These products will give off a scent that bees can’t stand, deterring them from wherever you need them to stay away from.
For the best results, hang these mothballs near to the nest and make sure that they don’t fall off easily.
On top of this, make sure that they are upwind if you can, so the smell has a good chance of hitting the bee colony.
Over time, the smell will stick around and make sure the bees don’t return.
Bonus Method – Call Pest Services
If you think that these methods aren’t for you and that you would rather someone else offer a helping hand, you need to call some form of pest control service.
They will be able to offer a push in the right direction and will know exactly what to do to help.
If you have larger swarms and colonies present, then this is definitely the best thing to do.
If the colony has gotten to a size that has become too big to handle on your own, then this is the ideal method for getting rid of sweat bees.
Although they are very manageable and neutral, the females are known to sting on occasion.
That’s the end of our guide!
At the end of the day, you need to be comfortable in your own space, so we want to make sure that you have the knowledge and the tools available to make sure your property is sweat bee-free!
Ultimately, these insects are relatively harmless and will only approach you when they’re looking for an easy meal on different forms of bodily fluids like sweat.
Fingers crossed you’ll be able to remove these creatures relatively easily and without stress.