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Introducing Toronto’s Official Bee, the Bicoloured Agapostemon (Agapostemon virescens)!
This metallic green sweat bee is an ideal choice as Toronto’s Official Bee for several reasons:
- It is easy to identify. No other insect in our area has a brilliant bright green head and thorax combined with a black abdomen. The males are also bright green at the front but their abdomen is yellow and black striped.
- It is a common bee. The females can easily be found in early summer mornings foraging on thistles and other flowers. The males can be observed flying slowly around flowers looking for females.
- It is welcoming. Females form communal nests in the ground. Their social set up is similar to a condominium with one entrance that is shared by all occupants, but each has its own separate unit. Up to two dozen females may share a single nest entrance, but each individual builds its own burrow. One bee usually guards the entrance, with only her head visible from above ground. There is strength in numbers, which is why these bees allow other Bicoloured Agapostemon individuals (complete strangers) into their nests to increase entrance surveillance. Most bees will defend their nests against others of their own species, but our official bee is much more tolerant of newcomers, and this makes it a particularly appropriate choice for Toronto’s Official Bee.