Green bees are common in North America, Central America, and South America.
Various species of green bees live in tropical climates.
From here, some species migrate further and make it to Southern US.
The green coloring of bees is rarely pure as its influenced by metallic hues, copper, blue, or golden undertones.
The green coloring of bees also can be seen as a protective layer as it might make them seem toxic to potential predators.
Are There Green Bees?
Sweat bees, carpenter bees, and parasitic bees can be green.
Most green bees are sweat bees. These are a type of bee often seen licking human sweat, mostly for its high salt content.
Green bees are present in high numbers in states such as Texas and Florida.
They can also be seen further north and on the Eastern Coast. They can even be found in New York parks.
Fewer species of green bees live East of The Rocky Mountains.
Are Green Bees Dangerous?
Green bees can sometimes be dangerous if they can sting. Females can sometimes sting but this sting might not be as painful as the sting of wasps or other bees.
For example, Dilemma Orchid Bees known to sting have been described as less painful than honeybees in their sting.
Types of Green Bees
The following types of green bees are highly common in North America and other parts of the world.
1. Pure Green-Sweat Bee
The Pure Green-Sweat Bee (Augochlora pura) is one of the most common species of green bees in the US.
It lives in many Eastern states where males and females can lick human sweat.
Salt in sweat attracts these bees, like all other sweat bees.
Pure Green-Sweat bees have a metallic green body of around 10mm.
The green color of the species is considered shiny.
While these bees are solitary, they can sometimes be seen in very small groups in the nest.
Male Pure Green Sweat bees are often seen together as they share a nest if multiple nests aren’t available.
2. Brown-winged Striped Sweat Bee
Brown-winged Striped Sweat Bees (Agapostemon splendens) are native to Florida.
Similar in size to the Pure Green-Sweat bee, the Brown-winged Striped Sweat bee bears its name from its colored stripes.
While most green, this bee has white and black bands on its abdomen.
Black contouring lines are also seen around its ocelli.
These bees have black legs.
The entire body of the species is covered in fine golden-yellow hairs.
Seen as a beneficial pollinator, the Brown-winged Striped Sweat bee isn’t particularly aggressive towards people.
3. Metallic Epauletted-Sweat Bee
Bees of this species have a pure metallic green head, thorax, and abdomen. They (Augochloropsis metallica) have dark green legs and short hair covering both the body and the legs.
The color of the bee appears slightly golden in direct sunlight.
Metallic Epauletted-Sweat bees are seen in Eastern parts of the US. They are highly common in Florida.
Bees of this genus have a short tongue but they still visit plenty of flowers per minute.
They aren’t tied to a single flower species and are frequently seen moving from one flower genus to another.
4. Texas Striped Sweat Bee
The Texas Striped Sweat Bee (Agapostemon texanus) is one of the green bees with multiple morphs. The variation of colors depends on the environment.
Most color variations of the species include a metallic green thorax.
The abdomen of the species is characterized by black and yellow bands.
Some variations have more black while others have a mostly yellow abdomen.
The legs of these bees can be yellow or black-yellow as well.
Some Texas Striped Sweat bees have adapted to an all-green body with yellow legs.
It’s believed the bees with the greenest coloring of the species are those living around Austin.
5. Golden Sweat Bee
The Golden Sweat Bee (Augochlorella aurata) is one of the green bees with a very wide distribution.
It’s found in all Eastern states with the Rocky Mountains serving as a natural border.
These green bees are commonly found in various green colors.
Blue and copper are some of the nuances of the main green color of the species come in.
Red and yellow are rare undertones these green bees are sometimes seen in.
The green undertones of the bees are influenced by their natural habitat.
All bees of this species are small regardless of their caste as they grow up to 7mm.
6. Peridot Sweat Bee
Peridot Sweat Bees (Augochlorella pomoniella) are common in North and South America. These bees are seen in high numbers in the tropics.
Known for their vivid green color, the bees can appear orange and yellow due to their metallic color.
Peridot Sweat bees are highly common around New York. Seen in parks and gardens, this species is one of the most important pollinators in the state.
These bees prefer to nest in the ground.
The clear ground is where they dig their burrows. Peridot Sweat bees excavate a large amount of soil and then create brood cells underground.
These underground nests are close to their favorite flowers. The bees are a known pollinator of dogbane and prairie dogbane.
7. Honey-tailed Striped Sweat Bee
This bee species (Agapostemon melliventris) is partly green. It has a green thorax. Its abdomen is black and white.
Bees of the species have transparent wings and black antennae.
Small color differences are sometimes noted between males and females.
The abdomen of the males is known for its vivid black and white bands while the female’s abdomen can appear yellow.
These bees live short lives and they never survive another season.
8. Dilemma Orchid Bee
This small green bee (Euglossa dilemma) is seen across Northern states plus Florida.
Dilemma Orchid bees have vivid green coloring and translucent wings.
These bees can be differentiated in sexes as females carry leg adaptations that allow them to collect more pollen.
Bees of the genus can sometimes be found at high altitudes in Central America.
Known to have the capacity to sting multiple times, these bees aren’t particularly dangerous.
Their sting is less painful than the sting of other honey-making bees.
9. Silky Striped Sweat Bee
Seen from April to October, the Silky Striped Sweat Bee (Agapostemon sericeus) is another common green bee that licks sweat.
There are considerable appearance differences between the males and the females of this species.
The female is almost completely green while the male is mostly green.
Female Silky Striped sweat bees have a green head, green thorax, and a green abdomen.
Golden nuances are seen in this green color.
Some brown marks are also distinguished on its ventral side.
Males only have a green head and thorax. The abdomen has yellow and black bands while its legs are yellow and not brown as the legs of the female.
10. Emerald Small Carpenter
The Emerald Small Carpenter (Ceratina smaragdula) is a vivid green bee species common around the world and native to India and Southeast Asia.
These bees grow up to 6mm and they are often seen excavating wood to nest in.
Bees of this genus have a vivid green body with a metallic hue.
This color is specific to all parts of its body except the smoky wings.
The species can create superficial damage to homes, especially when they excavate wood in high numbers.
11. Emerald Cuckoo-Orchid Bee
Emerald Cuckoo-Orchid Bees (Exaerete smaragdina) are known for their dark green color.
This darker green color is still metallic but it lacks the golden hue many metallic green sweat bees come with.
Bees of this genus are known parasites. They invade the nests of Eufriesea surinamensis bees laying eggs in cells that are ready to receive eggs.
Emerald Cuckoo-Orchid bees prefer to avoid confrontation with host bees.
They only invade when the host leaves the nest.
Emerald Cuckoo-Orchid bees have limited pollen-gathering capacity. Only males of the species can collect pollen on their legs.
12. Auriferous Green Sweat Bee
The Auriferous Green Sweat Bee (Augochlora aurifera) gets its name from its golden nuance of metallic green.
This bee is mostly found in Central and South America but populations also exist in Southern Texas.
Bees of the species have a green thorax and a dark green abdomen.
Visible differences between males and females aren’t easily seen. Microscopic analysis is often needed to tell the male Auriferous Green Sweat bee from the males.
Bees of this family are known pollinators of various flowers.
13. Grassy Green-Sweat Bee
The Grassy Green-Sweat Bee (Pseudaugochlora graminea) is known for visiting many flowers. Often seen on daisies, these bees have an all-green body.
The green nuance has a slight golden-yellow interpretation.
A copper undertone green version of the bees is also common.
It’s believed the copper nuance Grassy Green-Sweat bee has color adaptations similar to asters they visit.
14. Golden-green Carpenter Bee
Golden-green Carpenter Bees (Xylocopa aerata) are mostly seen in a golden nuance green color. The species has a dark green color with blue or purple nuances as well.
These are some of the largest green bees native to Australia.
They are known for appearing in different colors around New South Wales.
Bees of this genus can have a green thorax and a green abdomen. They can also have a golden thorax and a green abdomen.
Bees of the species are known for nesting in wood. Females chew softwood, take out the leftovers and then dig multiple tunnels from the main tunnel in wood.
15. Peacock Carpenter Bee
Peacock Carpenter Bees (Xylocopa bombylans) are known for their stocky body.
Short and wide, these green bees have a distinct appearance among Australian-native carpenter bees.
The stocky build of these bees allows them to often defend their nests with their bodies.
As a type of carpenter bee, the species is prone to tunneling softwood. Male bees often use their wide-body, specifically the abdomen, to guard the entrance to the nests in wood.
Little coloring variation has been described for this species.
Most examples are either pure green or blue-green.
16. Cerulean Orchid Bee
Cerulean Orchid Bees (Eufriesea coerulescens) have been associated with woodlands in Mexico and Brazil but are now present in Texas and New Mexico.
These bees have varying green coloring from metallic green or green with blue nuances.
Some of the darker color variations of the species make these bees look almost completely blue in the evening.
Part of a wider genus of bees, the Cerulean Orchid bee has certain characteristics other green bees don’t.
For example, male Cerulean Orchid bees can detect orchids from a very long distance.
The females don’t have this capacity. A theory suggests males are bound to disperse the species over longer distances.
17. Angeles Striped Sweat Bee
The Angeles Striped Sweat Bee (Agapostemon angelicus) is common in North America. The species has coloring differences between the sexes.
Known to grow up to 14mm in length, these bees look different from males to females.
The female Angeles Striped Sweat bee has a green thorax, a green head, and a green abdomen.
Male Angeles Striped Sweat bees are only partially green. Males of the species only have a green thorax.
The abdomen of males exhibits alternating black and yellow bands.
While they consume nectar, these bees cannot produce honey.
They can also be mildly aggressive when threatened. Female Angeles Striped Sweat bee can sting but prefers to hide in flowers when under threat.
18. Currant Orchard Bee
This bee species (Osmia ribifloris) is known for carrying pollen on its ventral side. It finds nests in natural holes or burrows.
These burrows are then separated by mud to create individual chambers.
When not building nests, the Current Orchard bee can be seen on various flowers and blossoms.
Like mason bees, the Currant Orchard bee is docile. It doesn’t sting and it doesn’t have a pure stinger.
These dark green bees are seen as very good pollinators to keep around the house, even in urban areas given they don’t sting.