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Squash bees ( Peponapis and Xenoglossa spp.) are named after the plants they pollinate, Cucurbita spp., which include pumpkins, gourds, and of course, squashes. These bees are native to the United States, and occur throughout the United States, southeastern Canada, and into South America. Squash bees are similar in size to honey bees ( Apis mellifera ) but are more brownish-grey and white in color; they are also faster than honey bees. Male antennae in Peponapis spp. are somewhat shorter than in most species in the Eucerini tribe.

When it comes to Cucurbita spp., squash and honey bees are the most important pollinators. However, squash bees synchronize their foraging activity with the bloom of their host plants - Cucurbita spp. bloom near dawn and close by late morning; likewise, squash bees emerge just before dawn and forage quickly, ceasing by late morning. When squash bees are abundant they thoroughly pollinate all available flowers, making subsequent visits by honey bees superfluous.

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Supplier: Bob Corrigan

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