Tumulous Sweat Bee

The Tumulous Sweat Bee (Halictus tumulorum) is a common, small insect in the Halictidae family of ground-nesting sweat bees. It is called a sweat bee because it is attracted to the sweat of animals and humans.

The Tumulous Sweat Bee is black or dark-brown. Sometimes, it has a green metallic colour. It has thin, whitish abdominal bands. It has six legs, two pairs of wings, and three body parts: (1) head, (2) thorax, and (3) abdomen. Its wings are translucent (see-through). It has enlarged compound eyes. 

Tumulous Sweat Bee

It grows up to 1 centimetre (about half an inch) in length. 

It lives in western Europe, in countries such as southern Britain, Spain, and France, as well as the Isles of Scilly and the Channel Islands. 

It prefers areas with sandy soil, and open habitats. The female is seen from mid-March to October, and the male is seen from late June to early July. It hibernates in winter.

It eats pollen and nectar from flowers. It is a pollinator, but it does not make honey. 

It is usually crepuscular, active mostly at dawn or dusk. 

The Tumulous Sweat Bee is primitively eusocial, and not solitary. This means that, instead of living in colonies of hundreds of bees, it lives in groups of 2-4 bees, or up to 200 individuals.

It does not have a hive. It nests in the ground. It burrows into the soil. A female looks for a site to make a nest. She constructs the nest with 6-9 horizontal cells in a short tunnel. A single egg is laid in each cell. 

Tumulous Sweat Bee
Tumulous Sweat Bee
Tumulous Sweat Bee

[Location of photographs: Paris, France]

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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