Squash blossoms are prolific in Oregon gardens right now and the bees are taking notice. Squash’s delicate blossoms open and close every day, unfurling at dawn and usually closing up tight before noon. Look closely into the large flowers and you might see a honeybee or bumblebee sipping up the nectar. But if you get up early and are among the very lucky, you might just spot a squash bee (Peponapis pruinose).
Squash bees – which look like hairy honeybees with well-defined white bands on the abdomen– specialize in pollinating squash flowers. In fact, they are the only bee that collect pollen from squash plants.
Here is very cool news for Oregonians: The squash bee, a native bee previously thought not to be in Oregon, was collected for the first time in Southern Oregon just two years ago! You can read more about this discovery in blog by OSU Master Gardener Jean R. Natter and this Bee Girl blog. Amazing!