Please Don't Slap Me!

William C. Gladish

Joined April 2009

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Artist's Description

While hiking in the Smoky Mountains with a friend and fellow photographer, I took this image of a Metallic Green Sweat Bee Tribe Augochlorini on his forehead. Fortunately, I’m not allergic to bee stings, so when these little critters land on my skin, I let them stay for two reasons. One, they are important pollinators of plants and mean me no harm, all they want is the salt in my sweat and two, I love their green and gold color. Of course, if one is allergic, the method of blowing them off your skin seems to work well. I will use this method if a bee lands on my arm where they could get pinched….resulting in harm for the bee and a mild sting for me. If near the knee, a gentle flick with the finger tip works.

Location: TN, USA
300mm macro lens with 500D close-up lens attached

More Information on these wonderful pollinators from Wikipedia:

Sweat bee is the common name for any bees that are attracted to the salt in human sweat. In its strict application, the name refers to members of the Halictidae, a large family of bees that are common in most of the world except Australia and Southeast Asia, where they are only a minor faunistic element. In the United States, the common species are black, brown, red, or metallic green, and sometimes with yellow markings, and usually 1/4 to 1/2 inch (4-10 mm) in size. They will sting if squeezed or squashed against one’s flesh. Their sting is only rated a 1.0 on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, making it almost painless.

As with many common names, however, the term “sweat bee” is applied colloquially to different insects in different continents, despite its technical restriction to halictids. Thus, in Africa and parts of Southeast Asia, the colloquial name is used to refer to what are technically known as stingless bees, which are typically in the genus Trigona and its relatives (family Apidae), and also have the habit of taking up salt from human perspiration. The European honey bee, Apis mellifera, also occasionally laps human perspiration, as will other bees on occasion.

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