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Pruinose Squash Bees

8-17-17 pruinose squash bees2 049A2916The Pruinose Squash Bee (Peponapis pruinosa) is most often noticed when it’s gathering nectar or pollen from squash, pumpkin, watermelon or gourd blossoms.  (Squash bees have been shown to be excellent pollinators of zucchini and butternut squashes, among others. If numerous, they thoroughly pollinate all available flowers, rendering later visits of honeybees superfluous. Before Europeans brought honeybees to the New World, squash bees were busy aiding the adoption, domestication, spread, and production of squashes and gourds by indigenous peoples throughout the Americas.) The bee’s black and white striped abdomen is easy to recognize.

While female squash bees are busy foraging for pollen in the flowers of plants in the Cucurbitae family, male squash bees can be seen darting between flowers, searching for mates. By noon, they are fast asleep in the withered flowers.

Pruinose Squash Bees are solitary bees, with every female digging her own nest in the ground. These consist of vertical tunnels that end with a number of individual chambers that are a foot or two deep in the soil. Each chamber is provided with an egg and a lump of pollen so that when the egg hatches, food is readily available. (Photo: five Pruinose Squash Bees packed into a single Bindweed flower)


6 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    Mary: that’s a ‘cool’ photo & informative post….but….you should be enjoying a ‘day off’ 😁

    August 12, 2017 at 3:40 pm

  2. Marney Bruce

    That’s a good reason to leave some unmulched, bare ground! Nice post, Mary.

    August 12, 2017 at 3:51 pm

  3. Linda

    This is one of the most fascinating posts ever. To see them all lumped in the flower like kittens! I can enlarge the foto and clearly see the white stripes. I am glad to know about them, and I’ll be on the lookout.

    August 12, 2017 at 5:30 pm

  4. so the males are constantly patrolling and looking for fights?

    August 12, 2017 at 6:30 pm

  5. Love this! Thanks so much

    August 12, 2017 at 6:44 pm

  6. Audrey C. Hyson

    This begins to answer a question which has been brought to me lately which is, what insects (and others) were doing the pollinating before the European honey bee was brought to North America? These native pollinators are becoming ever more vital as the european honeybee population is at risk from CCD. I wonder if crops like almonds can be sustained with native pollinators?

    August 15, 2017 at 9:48 am

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