Augochlora pura

Geographic Range

Pure green sweat bees (Augochlora pura) are widespread throughout the eastern United States and Canada. This species has a range that spans Quebec and Nova Scotia to Florida and Texas. They are found from April to October. During warmer years, that time frame expands to February to November. (Young, 2019)


Pure green sweat bees are found in and near shady hardwood forests. Nests are commonly located under in fallen logs in forests. They may travel to nearby open areas to gather food. (Young, 2019)

Physical Description

Pure green sweat bees are a shiny, brightly colored species of bee. They have oval black eyes and two smokey wings. Pure green sweat bees average 8 mm in length. They can be identified by the separation of the clypeal margin. The apex of marginal cell truncate. Their iridescent colors range from gold to green to blue. Female bees have 12 antennae segments, while males have 13 segments. Female bees are often larger than male bees and have pollen-collecting hairs on their back legs. (Mitchell, 1962; Short and Lucky, 2018)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • female larger
  • sexes shaped differently
  • Average length
    8 mm
    0.31 in


Pure green sweat bees undergo complete metamorphosis like other bees in the order Hymenoptera. Larvae hatch from eggs, then pass through several stages of growth. Once the larvae have fully matured, they begin the pupal stage. During this phase, pupae transform into adult bees. (Stockhammer, 1966)


Males will not pursue females in flight. Instead, males wait for females to land on a flower before attempting.

Pure green sweat bees mate in the fall. After mating, male bees die. Female bees will gather food to build up fat to survive the winter in hibernation. (Stockhammer, 1966)

Unlike other bees in the family Halictidae, pure green sweat bees nest under loose bark of stumps, rotten trees, and logs. Female bees build cells out of mud and debris from under the bark. She glues the debris together with her saliva and nectar. These cells can be two or three-dimensional structures. Once a cell is complete, the female will lay a single egg into it and seal it. The time from egg to adult is 17-40 days, depending on temperature. (Moisset and Wojcik, 2020; Stockhammer, 1966)

  • Breeding interval
  • Breeding season
    Mating occurs in the fall.
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    17 to 40 minutes
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    17 to 40 days

Each female builds her own nest and produces her own offspring. The last generation of females to hatch in the fall will overwinter and start their nests in the spring. Males do not contribute to nest building or food gathering. (Stockhammer, 1966)

  • Parental Investment
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female


The exact lifespan of pure green sweat bees is not known. The time to mature from egg to adult can range from 17 to 40 days. It is likely that females die after completing 9-12 nests. Most often there are 2-3 generations per year. Pure green sweat bees near the northernmost parts of their geographic range have fewer generations per year.


As the name suggests, pure green sweat bees are attracted to the sweat of humans. They are a solitary species that prefers shady habitats. Female bees may overwinter together. Female pure green sweat bees start searching for nectar in the morning, followed by pollen foraging into the afternoon. The late afternoon is used for nest building and protecting. (Short and Lucky, 2018; Stockhammer, 1966)

As the name suggests, pure green sweat bees are attracted to the sweat of humans. They are a solitary species that prefers shady habitats. Female bees may shelter together throughout the winter. Female pure green sweat bees start searching for nectar in the morning, followed by pollen foraging into the afternoon. The late afternoon is used for nest building and protecting.

Communication and Perception

Not much is known about the communication and perception of pure green sweat bees. They may use visual, chemical, and tactical perception. Chemical and tactical communication is likely. (Short and Lucky, 2018)

Food Habits

Adults feed primarily on nectar. They feed off many types of flowers and show little preference. (Young, 2019)

  • Plant Foods
  • nectar


Female bees can sting to defend themselves and their nests. Pure green sweat bees are preyed upon by spiders, birds, and other insects. The nests of pure green sweat bees are likely impacted by parasitoid wasps. (Short and Lucky, 2018)

Ecosystem Roles

Pure green sweat bees are generalist pollinators. They collect pollen from over 40 different species of plants, including spring beauties, false rue anemones, dimpled trout lilies, slender toothworts, and star chickweeds. It may be one of the few animal pollinators of walnut. Nematodes are parasites of pure green sweat bees. The species is preyed upon by spiders, birds, and other insects. (Motten, 1986; Schemske, et al., 1978; Short and Lucky, 2018; Stockhammer, 1966)

  • Ecosystem Impact
  • pollinates
Commensal/Parasitic Species
  • Nematodes (Aduncospiculum halicti)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Pure green sweat bees are important pollinators. They may contribute to the pollination of fields near their forest habitat. (Short and Lucky, 2018)

  • Positive Impacts
  • pollinates crops

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

As the name suggests, pure green sweat bees are attracted to the sweat of humans. The females will lick the sweat and they may sting if startled. (Short and Lucky, 2018)

  • Negative Impacts
  • injures humans
    • bites or stings

Conservation Status

No special statuses.

Other Comments

Pure green sweat bees may also be referred to as pure gold-green sweat bees.


Deena Hauze (author), Animal Diversity Web Staff.



living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

World Map

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


a period of time when growth or development is suspended in insects and other invertebrates, it can usually only be ended the appropriate environmental stimulus.

  1. active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.

animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature


union of egg and spermatozoan


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.


the state that some animals enter during winter in which normal physiological processes are significantly reduced, thus lowering the animal's energy requirements. The act or condition of passing winter in a torpid or resting state, typically involving the abandonment of homoiothermy in mammals.

internal fertilization

fertilization takes place within the female's body


A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


an animal that mainly eats nectar from flowers


reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


remains in the same area


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


lives alone


mature spermatozoa are stored by females following copulation. Male sperm storage also occurs, as sperm are retained in the male epididymes (in mammals) for a period that can, in some cases, extend over several weeks or more, but here we use the term to refer only to sperm storage by females.


uses touch to communicate


Living on the ground.


uses sight to communicate


Mitchell, T. 1962. Bees of the eastern United States. Technical bulletin (North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station), No. 141: 1-538. Accessed May 18, 2020 at

Moisset, B., V. Wojcik. 2020. "The Pure Golden Green Sweat Bee (Augochlora pura)" (On-line). U.S. FOREST SERVICE. Accessed May 17, 2020 at

Motten, A. 1986. Pollination Ecology of the Spring Wildflower Community of a Temperate Deciduous Forest. Ecological Monographs, 56(1): 21-42.

Schemske, D., M. Willson, M. Melampy, L. Miller, L. Verner, K. Schemske, L. Best. 1978. Flowering Ecology of Some Spring Woodland Herbs.

, 59(2): 351-366. Accessed May 18, 2020 at

Short, C., A. Lucky. 2018. "common name: pure gold-green sweat bee (suggested common name) scientific name: Augochlora pura (Say 1837) (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Halictidae: Halictinae)" (On-line). Featured Creatures. Accessed May 17, 2020 at

Stockhammer, K. 1966. Nesting Habits and Life Cycle of a Sweat Bee, Augochlora pura (Hymenoptera: Halictidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 39(2): 157-192.

Young, B. 2019. "NatureServe" (On-line). NatureServe Explorer. Accessed May 18, 2020 at