Squash Bees Are Pollinating Your Pumpkins and Zucchini

from the Frank Lab Website
August 17, 2015

Female with pollen

A female squash bee foraging in a male pumpkin flower (note the pollen on her back legs). (Photo: E. Youngsteadt)

For years, I have felt rather sheepish for never having seen a squash bee. As native bees go, these fetching little stripey, round-faced bees get a lot of press. They’re common and easy to recognize, and they happen to do a very specific job that’s easy to appreciate: They pollinate around 2/3 of the commercially grown squash in the US. When bee enthusiasts are polled for their favorite species, someone always picks the squash bee. So yeah, I felt a little left out.

Read more about the biology and conservation of squash bees (and how I finally met them).

Note: This post went up right at the end of squash bee season in my garden in Raleigh; they were active from late June through early August.