Metallic green bee

I finally got a photo of a metallic green bee. It turns out these bees are a wee bit camera shy and it took a lot of persistence to get this one to pose. This bee is mostly likely in the genus Agapostemon in the family Halictidae. Even though the 44 species of Agapostemon are in the sweat bee family, they are not attracted to human sweat, and instead of hanging around humans, they tend to shy away.

The short-tongued Agapostemon are native to North and South America. Although they forage from a wide range of plants, they are frequently seen on composite flowers such as daisies and dandelions. Most species are solitary ground-dwellers. In some species several females will share a common tunnel entrance and post a single guard outside, but inside the burrow, each female builds and maintains her own nest.

The bees appear green or blue, depending on how the light reflects from their bodies. All species have a green or blue head and thorax, and sometimes the females have a similarly colored abdomen. Other females and most males have a yellow and black (or white and black) striped abdomen. The females carry pollen in the dense hairs that cover their hind legs. These medium-sized bees range from about 0.3 to 0.6 inches long.


Green metallic bee found in Olympia. © Rusty Burlew.


Mary Powers

Beautiful, like the peacock of the bee world! Apparently I’ve had a very narrow view of what a bee is: if it wasn’t a honeybee or a bumblebee than it was a wasp/hornet (to me). I have definitely had my eyes opened to the world of “Bees, other” since finding this website. Thanks, Rusty, for your always gorgeous photography and your efforts to enlighten us to the hidden realm all around us.



I like that: “Bees, other.”


Mary, I agree with you. I wouldn’t have known this was a bee just by looking. I, too, am becoming educated since I found this site only two days ago.


I just saw one of these for the first time a week ago and started to look up info on them. Funny what you start looking at once you start to work with bees.

Glen Buschmann

Rusty -
MANY of us are grateful for your skilled and persistent use of your eyes and camera optics.


What a beauty. Glad you were able to find and share her.

Pam Phillips

Agapostemon are my favorites! So beautiful.

Anna S.

That is a very pretty bee :) I agree with Mary — I, too, have been paying more attention to all bees since I have come across your website. I am trying to educate others, too.


Finally the grand glam shot. :)
Congrats on getting that one off the bucket-list!!

Kent, WA



Yes, well, you have me pegged. I am pretty much obsessed with these creatures. I’d like to have an outfit like that; I could look like a flaming tranny.

David H.

I think I just saw one of these the other day. The wife and I were walking our dog, and I saw it from about 20 feet away. I stopped to look at it, and I literally thought to myself, “Why is that fly dancing around on that flower?”

Who knew?

Thanks for the insight, Rusty! I love everything you write.



Never seen or heard of them, would have thought that is some type of wasp.

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