Nature Walk: Sweat Bees

A fascinating look at a common but lesser known bee with a unique taste for human sweat.


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There are many known species of bees in the world—with estimates topping 20,000—and scientists have classed them all into a small set of groups, or families. The grouping is so diverse though, they even include ants and wasps, because scientists think bees and ants descended from wasps. But these same scientists also believe that bees and other insects—as well as all lifeforms on earth—evolved on their own over time without being designed or created. We, of course, are servants of Yah, and are guided by Scripture, which grants us a view into creation and how life really formed on earth. So, we reject the false idea of evolution.

Now, while there are many families of bees, we’ll focus on what are called the Halictidae, which, by definition are:

“. . . Often called “sweat bees.” They occur all over the world and are usually dark-colored and often metallic in appearance. Several species are all or partly green and a few are red; a number of them have yellow markings, especially the males, which commonly have yellow faces, a pattern widespread among the various families of bees.”

Many of us are very familiar with the honey bee, which is an important pollinator in nature, but not as many people know about the sweat bee. Unlike the honey bee, sweat bees live underground and dig burrows in the soil. They’re also tiny, measuring between 1/8 of an inch to half an inch in length at their longest, so you can easily miss them. Surprisingly, while we all know about certain other types of bees, sweat bees are among the most common bee almost anywhere bees are found.

Like all types of bees, sweat bees are very important to what is called the ecosystem. What’s that you ask? Well, the ecosystem, by definition:

“. . . includes all of the living things (plants, animals, and organisms) in a given area, interacting with one another, and also with their non-living environments (weather, earth, sun, soil, climate, atmosphere, etc.).”

So, sweat bees play an important role in supporting a large variety of plant species by pollinating them. In other words, they help plants make seeds so they can reproduce or make new plants. And this happens with different vegetation scattered over large distances. But what is most unique about sweat bees is the quality that gives them their name: they love to lick human sweat! Well, it’s really the salt in our sweat that they’re after. But this salt is only a supplement, or addition, to their diet.

Since sweat bees usually live underground, where they have their nests, this is also where they store nectar, pollen, and parts of flowers for food. But, just as we humans need electrolytes to enhance our energy and power, sweat bees need electrolytes from salt for the same purpose, and that is why they like human sweat. So, if you’re ever outside in a garden, or a field of wildflowers, and a sweat bee lands on you to drink your sweat, don’t panic. And if you’re wondering about their stings, only the females have stingers. But on a widely used sting pain index, their sting is only rated a 1.0, the lowest and least painful of all stinging insects, and they’re very unwilling to sting you. In other words, don’t be afraid of them, enjoy them.

And remember, this video barely scratches the surface on all the info available on this subject. To learn more, be sure to visit your local library, or ask a grownup for help doing more research on the internet. Shalom.

Keywords: sweat bee, bee, sweat, ground bee, ecosystem, burrows, Halictidae, electrolyte, salt, salt of the earth, nature walk, nature, education, carrots, hebrew israelite, kingdom preppers, growing up hebrew, Little Kingdom Preppers, LKP, Little KP, GUH, KP

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