Our abundance of maturing crookneck squash flowers has attracted an equally large abundance of squash bees (Peponapis pruinosa).
Two genera of solitary bees, Peponapis and Xenoglossa, are collectively referred to as “squash bees”. Their activity is largely restricted to early mornings, prior to flower collapse. During the first few morning hours, the male squash bees dart between flowers, searching for mates. At the same time, the females forage at the flowers of squashes, pumpkins and gourds, their sole sources of pollen.
Though solitary by nature, female squash bees frequently share communal underground nests. Each female digs a 1’ to 2’ tunnel into the network, depositing a pea-size pollen ball and sausage-shaped squash bee larva at the end.
Prior to the arrival of European honeybees (Apis mellifera), squash bees played an essential role in the domestication, spread, and production of squashes and gourds throughout the Americas.
Abundant where squashes, pumpkins, and other cucurbits are grown, these efficient pollinators are essential for successful large-scale squash production.