Members of the family Halictidae are commonly known as sweat bees. One hundred ten (110) species of halictid bees have been recorded in Pennsylvania [1]. Of these species, only three (Halictus tectusLasioglossum leucozonium, and Lasioglossum zonulum) are not native to North America (indicated by an asterisk; *). Worldwide, this family has over 4,470 species described [2].

General identifying morphological characters include:

  • A strongly curved basal vein in the forewing
  • A pair of grooves on their face (one below each antenna) 
  • Short tongue length
  • Small to medium size
  • Wide range of colors and patterns, but may appear wasp-like, nearly hairless, and often have black, brown, or metallic coloration (green, bronze, blue)

Nesting habitats

Bees in this family nest in burrows they dig in the ground or, less commonly, in decaying wood.


Species of bees in this family may be solitary, communal, semi-social, or primitively eusocial (having less ridged social structures than fully eusocial bees). The level of sociality within a species can also vary based on the climate, season, and the location of their nest. 

Other behavioral or biological traits

Halictidae is one of the most diverse bee families, in terms of behavior and biological traits. Even closely related species or groups of species can be very different! Notably, some species are specialists that only collect pollen from certain plant species, Most bees in this family store food for their young in their own nests, but others are social parasites or cleptoparasites. Parasitic bees invade and lay their eggs in the nest of another bee species. Either the adult parasite or their larva kills the host’s young in the nest. Then, the parasite’s larva eats the food that the host stored. In this way, social parasites and cleptoparasites take advantage of the other species’ efforts to build a nest and collect food.

Species list

A checklist of halictid bees recorded in Pennsylvania is presented below. For each species, we list the counties, date ranges, and the most recent years they have been collected or observed in the openly-accessible checklist [see 1].

Genus Agapostemon — 4 species

Agapostemon (Agapostemon) sericeus (Förster, 1771)

Agapostemon (Agapostemon) splendens (Lepeletier, 1841)

Agapostemon (Agapostemon) texanus Cresson, 1872

Agapostemon (Agapostemon) virescens (F., 1775)

Genus Augochlora — 1 species

Augochlora (Augochlora) pura pura (Say, 1837)

Genus Augochlorella — 2 species

Augochlorella aurata (Smith, 1853)

Augochlorella persimilis (Viereck, 1910)

Genus Augochloropsis — 2 species

Augochloropsis (Paraugochloropsis) metallica fulgida (Smith, 1853)

Augochloropsis (Paraugochloropsis) metallica sensu lato (F., 1793)

Augochloropsis (Paraugochloropsis) sumptuosa (Smith, 1853)

Genus Dieunomia — 1 species

Dieunomia (Dieunomia) heteropoda heteropoda (Say, 1824)

Genus Halictus — 5 species

Halictus (Nealictus) parallelus Say, 1837

Halictus (Odontalictus) ligatus Say, 1837

Halictus (Protohalictus) rubicundus (Christ, 1791)

Halictus (Seladonia) confusus confusus Smith, 1853

Halictus (Vestitohalictus) tectus Radoszkowski, 1876 *

Genus Lasioglossum — 72 species

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) albipenne (Robertson, 1890)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) anomalum (Robertson, 1892)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) bruneri (Crawford, 1902)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) callidum (Sandhouse, 1924)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) cattellae (Ellis, 1913)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) cephalotes (Dalla Torre, 1896)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) coeruleum (Robertson, 1893)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) coreopsis (Robertson, 1902)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) cressonii (Robertson, 1890)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) dreisbachi (Mitchell, 1960)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) georgeickworti Gibbs, 2011

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) gotham Gibbs, 2011

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) heterognathus (Mitchell, 1960)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) hitchensi Gibbs, 2012

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) illinoense (Robertson, 1892)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) imitatum (Smith, 1853)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) izawsum Gibbs, 2011

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) katherineae Gibbs, 2011

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) laevissimum (Smith, 1853)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) lineatulum (Crawford, 1906)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) marinum (Crawford, 1904)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) nigroviride (Graenicher, 1911)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) oceanicum (Cockerell, 1916)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) perpunctatum (Ellis, 1913)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) rozeni Gibbs, 2011

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) simplex (Robertson, 1901)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) smilacinae (Robertson, 1897)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) timothyi Gibbs, 2010

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) trigeminum Gibbs, 2011

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) versans (Lovell, 1905)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) versatum (Robertson, 1902)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) weemsi (Mitchell, 1960)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) zephyrus (Smith, 1853)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) lionotus (Sandhouse, 1923)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) leucocomus (Lovell, 1908)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) pilosum (Smith, 1853)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) pruinosum (Robertson, 1892)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) michiganense (Mitchell, 1960)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) platyparium (Robertson, 1895)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) ellisiae (Sandhouse, 1924)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) tegulare (Robertson, 1890)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) abanci (Crawford, 1932)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) admirandum (Sandhouse, 1924)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) apocyni (Mitchell, 1960)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) atwoodi Gibbs, 2010

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) ephialtum Gibbs, 2010

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) oblongum (Lovell, 1905)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) obscurum (Robertson, 1892)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) paradmirandum (Knerer & Atwood, 1966)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) planatum (Lovell, 1905)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) subviridatum (Cockerell, 1938)

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) taylorae Gibbs, 2010

Lasioglossum (Dialictus) viridatum (Lovell, 1905)

Lasioglossum (Evylaeus) cinctipes (Provancher, 1888)

Lasioglossum (Hemihalictus) birkmanni (Crawford, 1906)

Lasioglossum (Hemihalictus) foxii (Robertson, 1895)

Lasioglossum (Hemihalictus) inconditum (Cockerell, 1916)

Lasioglossum (Hemihalictus) macoupinense (Robertson, 1895)

Lasioglossum (Hemihalictus) nelumbonis (Robertson, 1890)

Lasioglossum (Hemihalictus) pectinatum (Robertson, 1890)

Lasioglossum (Hemihalictus) pectorale (Smith, 1853)

Lasioglossum (Lasioglossum) athabascense (Sandhouse, 1933)

Lasioglossum (Lasioglossum) coriaceum (Smith, 1853)

Lasioglossum (Lasioglossum) fuscipenne (Smith, 1853)

Lasioglossum (Lasioglossum) acuminatum McGinley, 1986

Lasioglossum (Lasioglossum) forbesii (Robertson, 1890)

Lasioglossum (Leuchalictus) leucozonium (Schrenk, 1781) *

Lasioglossum (Leuchalictus) zonulum (Smith, 1848) *

Lasioglossum (Sphecodogastra) truncatum (Robertson, 1901)

Lasioglossum (Sphecodogastra) comagenense (Knerer & Atwood, 1964)

Lasioglossum (Sphecodogastra) quebecense (Crawford, 1907)

Lasioglossum (Sphecodogastra) oenotherae (Stevens, 1920)

Genus Nomia — 1 species

Nomia (Acunomia) nortoni Cresson 1868

Genus Sphecodes — 22 species

Sphecodes confertus Say, 1837

Sphecodes clematidis Robertson, 1897

Sphecodes dichrous Smith, 1853

Sphecodes heraclei heraclei Robertson, 1897

Sphecodes minor Robertson, 1898

Sphecodes prosphorus Lovell & Cockerell, 1907

Sphecodes solonis Graenicher, 1911

Sphecodes antennariae Robertson, 1891

Sphecodes atlantis Mitchell, 1956

Sphecodes autumnalis Mitchell, 1956

Sphecodes banksii Lovell, 1909

Sphecodes coronus Mitchell, 1956

Sphecodes cressonii (Robertson, 1903)

Sphecodes galerus Lovell & Cockerell, 1907

Sphecodes illinoensis (Robertson, 1903)

Sphecodes levis Lovell & Cockerell, 1907

Sphecodes mandibularis Cresson, 1872

Sphecodes pimpinellae Robertson, 1900

Sphecodes smilacinae Robertson, 1897

Sphecodes townesi Mitchell, 1956

Sphecodes aroniae Mitchell, 1960

Sphecodes ranunculi Robertson, 1897

Additional information about species in this family is available at:


  1. Kilpatrick SK, Gibbs J, Mikulas MM, Spichiger S-E, Ostiguy N, Biddinger DJ, López-Uribe MM (2020) An updated checklist of the bees (Hymenoptera, Apoidea, Anthophila) of Pennsylvania, United States of America. Journal of Hymenoptera Research 77: 1–86.
  2. Ascher JS, Pickering J (2020) Discover Life bee species guide and world checklist (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Anthophila).

Photo Credit
Insects Unlocked (Genus Nomia) & USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab (other genera)

How to Cite this Webpage
Kilpatrick SK, López-Uribe MM (2020) Halictidae.

Updated 29 June 2020