106 – Jim Cane – Squash and Sunflower Bees


[00:00:00] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:00:00] From the Oregon State University Extension Service, this is PolliNation a podcast that tells the stories of researchers, land managers, and concerned citizens making bold strides to improve the health of pollinators. I'm your host, Dr. Andony Melathopoulos, Assistant Professor in Pollinator Health in the Department of Horticulture.

[00:00:32] Last year, there was a remarkable discovery made by Sarah Red-Laird who's from a organization down in Southern Oregon called Bee Girl. She was out with some students in a garden and she discovered a bee in the late summer. The squash bee - it's the first record of these bees in Oregon and you can read all about this discovery in the show notes. It was identified by the Oregon Bee Atlas Taxonomist, Lincoln Best and it's now snug and sitting [00:01:00] comfortably in the Oregon State Arthropod Collection.

[00:01:02] Now that this bee has crossed the border and is spreading in Oregon, I thought we should call Dr. Jim Cane. Dr. Cane is recently retired from the USDA Bee Lab in Logan, Utah and he knows a lot about these bees. And in this episode, he gives us sort of the low down on squash bees, but he also in the second half talks about another bee that is widely available through Oregon gardens. You can view them right now, the sunflower bees - the males will hang out overnight, they've got these distinctively long antennae.

[00:01:30] And towards the end of the interview, he tells us about the kinds of plants to plant in your garden to attract these bees, but also how to maintain that soil, and how to create nesting bed opportunities in your garden for bees, and a lot of listeners want that question answered. So I'm really delighted to bring you Dr. Cane's tips on how to do this, it's always wonderful talking with Dr. Cane. I hope you enjoy this episode.

[00:01:59] I'm [00:02:00] very excited to once again have Dr. Jim Cane join us on PolliNation. Welcome to PolliNation!

[00:02:05] Jim Cane: [00:02:05] Good afternoon Anthony in the height of summer!

[00:02:08] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:02:08] It is the height of summer and that's what we've called you in. We've got two bees that are active in gardens, they're summer bees - the squash bee and the sunflower bee. Both bees have real strong preferences for some of the plants in your gardens, sunflowers and squashes. And one of these bees also was newly discovered here in Oregon, the squash bee by Sarah Red-Laird from the Bee Girl organization and identified by Lincoln Best the taxonomist with the Oregon Bee Atlas. Tell us a little bit about these bees and their strong preference for these garden flowers.

[00:02:42] Jim Cane: [00:02:42] Yeah, the squash bees and it doesn't take much with that common name - it's pretty obvious. What they're associated with is squashes, gourds and pumpkins. The newcomer to Oregon so most northwesterly previous [00:03:00] findings of them has been over by Ontario, Oregon while in Nampa/Caldwell area and the Arcadia area. But Ashland area, that's a first but it's all across the continent. It gets as far north as Quebec and Ontario and Southern Maine. So we anticipate it'll spread there in Oregon. The bee is specifically adapted for and associated with squashes, gourds and pumpkin, not cucumbers, not melons, which are also in that same plant family. And all the pollen and nectar that their larvae are fed by the mother bee, they're solitary and ground nesting like most bees - all the pollen and nectar comes strictly from squashes, gourds, and pumpkins.

[00:03:48] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:03:48] Okay, fabulous. So how do you know if you've got squash bees in your garden?

[00:03:52] Jim Cane: [00:03:52] The males as you might imagine, if males want to find females of their species and the females only go [00:04:00] to squash flowers, and that's where males go to find them. And so where you have this bee flying at sunrise sometimes earlier than sunrise, if it's a warm morning. But sunrise and for a few hours after that, the males are busily darting amongst the flowers looking almost fanatically for females. Eventually they encounter them. The females only mate once in their lives so far as we know. So the males are really in a competition to find those newly emerged females. So the first thing that makes it easy to recognize them is that they'll be out before honeybees. Honeybees will come lazing around a couple of hours later, and they're very slow in squash flowers initially.

[00:04:45] These bees are fast, the females of squash bees carry the pollen dry on a brush of hairs on the hind leg. Whereas as you know, honeybees carry a pellet. And furthermore honeybees and bumblebees don't like [00:05:00] squash pollen, so they will actively groom it off their bodies and discard it. And if there's enough of them, you'll see little yellow flecks on the foliage of the squash plants where they discarded pollen.

[00:05:12] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:05:12] Well, you know, one thing I just want to pick up on is when Sarah Red-Laird found the bee, I think she was leading as she often does a group of youth. And the one thing that caught her eye, she said, it looked a bit like a honeybee but it was a flattish honeybee. And she knew enough having worked with bees for a long time that she needed to check it out a little bit more. But these bees do look at first glance apart from carrying their pollen up and down their legs, not in a pellet - and this fast flying early in the morning, they may look superficially like a honeybee.

[00:05:52] Jim Cane: [00:05:52] Yeah, that's very true. And they're about the size of a honeybee, especially the females. They do have kind of a [00:06:00] banding of short hairs across the abdomen, but superficially they look like a honeybee. And the easiest way to tell when honeybees are first arriving in the morning, is that squash bees are going to be really quick and very direct in their actions. Honeybees are going to be fumbling in the flowers, walking around on the pedals, eventually finding the nectaries almost like they're a little bit drunk, but I think they're just waking up they'll get faster much later in the morning.

[00:06:28] Once squash bees are abundant in a place the other fun way you can find them is the males, as true in all solitary bees, the males are not welcome in the nests. And some of your listeners will appreciate the fact that male bees in general do no contribution to the nesting, no contribution to the foraging and so it's no wonder they're unwelcome in the nests. So they have to sleep out and the case of squash bees, a great place to [00:07:00] sleep for the males is inside the flowers as they start to close for the day, around mid day. And he sleeps inside the closed flower and the next morning forces his way out and begins forging again. So you can walk through a patch with lots of squash bees in the afternoon, and squeeze spent flowers and if you get a sleepy buzz from it, you know there's a male Peponapis sleeping inside.

[00:07:25] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:07:25] Let me get this straight. So you're going to go later in the afternoon, after the flowers have closed. And you'll just kind of give them a little bit of a squeeze and if you hear a buzzing then you can investigate closer - you might find a squash bee.

[00:07:37] Jim Cane: [00:07:37] Yeah. There will be a squash bee in there. I've not encountered other bees that sleep that way. So people, not so much in Oregon or Washington, but in neighboring states and all across the country. With squashes, the males don't have a sting, it's a fun way to take your children out for the surprise of it, then you can [00:08:00] peel back the spent pedals and he'll come tumbling out.

[00:08:03] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:08:03] Well, I know for the Atlas we've provided some instructions for people on how to survey and emphasizing that negatives are very good. If people don't find squash bees I guess that'll tell us a little bit about the populations. And I guess you've been through the state before, so we know this is new - that seeing these bees in the West is a new phenomenon.

[00:08:24] Jim Cane: [00:08:24] I've only surveyed a little bit around the Corvallis area and on the way to Portland. And some folks from Xerces have looked for us in Portland and I've surveyed some in Southeastern Washington. So we're open to being surprised.

[00:08:42] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:08:42] Well, I'm not sure if I mentioned this already, but one of our other volunteers Briana Lindh, who's a faculty at Willamette University, also found some squash bees north of Eugene.

[00:08:51] Jim Cane: [00:08:51] Yeah. And you're right the negative evidence or the evidence of sparsity, both are interesting because this is a unassisted [00:09:00] range expansion of the bee - a native bee. For which I don't know of a precedent of actually characterizing the rate and intensity of range expansion for any solitary bee that's native. So this would be really special to see, and we know that the bee expanded its range out of the Southwest to the Eastern United States and the Midwest - but that probably followed the cultivation of gourds and squashes by Native Americans some thousands of years ago. So we don't get to see how that pattern actually worked at the moving front, Oregon's going to be a special opportunity for that.

[00:09:42] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:09:42] Fascinating. Well, there's going to be a lot of opportunity here for some really high level science by some of our volunteers. Fantastic! Well, squash bees, they must be fantastic pollinators of squash plants. Is that true?

[00:09:54] Jim Cane: [00:09:54] It is indeed a great pollinator of squashes. It's very effective from our research and this is [00:10:00] interesting because the males, because they're bouncing around in the flowers and visiting so many flowers to get occasional drinks of nectar and exploring for females that in fact - they're very effective pollinators of squashes. From our research limited comparison with females was no different and it took seven male visits to maximize seeds that in zucchinis in summer squashes. It'll probably take some more visits than that to maximize seed set in bigger, more seedy squashes like pumpkin.

[00:10:38] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:10:38] I do know there's some listeners out there saying, "I don't want any more squash, I have enough zucchini!"

[00:10:43] Jim Cane: [00:10:43] Yeah, but what you don't want is puny zucchini or misshapen zucchini. And these bees through their visitations will assure you that they are the right dimension. And if you don't want them, of course, you just pinch off the flowers. It's handy to pinch off the [00:11:00] spent flowers, but it is handy to have those squash flowers, because that's what's feeding this bee and feeding it's offspring. And because squashes are so generous, ridiculously so for the volume of nectar they produce and the amount of pollen they produce - the number of squash bees in a patch that goes from year to year to year where someone's growing them year after year, ultimately the number of squash bees will exceed by quite a bit the needed numbers for adequate pollination. Here for instance, the grower I've been monitoring annually for 20 years, he has so many squash bees that he gets those seven visits within fifteen to twenty minutes of male activity.

[00:11:49] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:11:49] Oh, fantastic!

[00:11:52] Jim Cane: [00:11:52] So, and you have to figure too that by the time every flower has been visited seven times, the [00:12:00] average flower will be visited more like ten to fifteen times. For your pumpkins and winter squashes, what you really want is well pollinated squashes, you don't want misformed or undersized pumpkins and winter squashes so there's a context in which the bees really important. And honeybees, by the way, after squash bees are finishing up their foraging days and honeybees are really becoming active - honeybees as well as bumblebees, as well as some other solitary bees are also effective squash pollinators. So just because Oregon doesn't have the squash bee, that doesn't mean that you lack for zucchinis, as you well know.

[00:12:43] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:12:43] So here's one last question. I'm thinking about your farmer that you have out in Utah and squash appears and then the bees build up their populations. It does remind me of a previous episode we did when we were talking about alkali bees, where you have this close association [00:13:00] between a cropping system and a specific kind of bee. Given that there's this close relationship why do you think we may just only now be seeing squash bees in Oregon?

[00:13:08] Jim Cane: [00:13:08] Why you're seeing them just now puzzles me and it may take someone who's a historian of European settlement and homesteading to inform me. My impression, here in Utah, for instance, the native host of this bee is a coyote gourd, which is a bitter gourd that is in the warm desert. And several other species that are in the warm desert is a native host and it's spread from those regions with the cultivation of squashes. In Utah, those native hosts are only down on the Southern border of Utah and the bee now extends beyond Boise in Idaho. So it has made that trip as far as I can tell with homesteaders growing squashes, which [00:14:00] provided stepping stones for this bee to move from homestead to homestead to homestead spreading Northward, and then ultimately Westward across the Snake River Plain.

[00:14:11] In Oregon, my impression, coming from the East so coming from Ontario, Oregon, you go over some pretty inhospitable country for farming and probably for homesteading. My impression is that it was a big leap for the bees to make it all the way across the area by Hells Canyon to come back down into agricultural valley. From Southern Oregon, I have a similar impression though I have not been there in quite a while to explore especially along the Applegate River. But certainly where I-5 comes over that's a pretty long path to an area where I don't suspect that there were homestead gardens - but I'll leave that to an Oregon historian to fill in that picture better. Why now? That's an [00:15:00] excellent question the bee is good at dispersing, but it's not a disperser like painted lady butterflies. It can't go hundreds of miles and then settled down in there, not so far as we know.

[00:15:11] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:15:11] Well, fantastic. Well thanks for kind of filling us in on this perhaps newcomer to the Western part of the state. And I'm really looking forward to more discoveries from the Oregon Bee Atlas - the volunteers being able to perhaps you know track the spread of this bee across the state.

[00:15:34] Well, thanks for giving us the lowdown on this newcomer, the squash bee! Let's take a break and then return and talk about this bee that we have right across the state, the sunflower bees that are also in your gardens.

[00:15:47] Jim Cane: [00:15:47] Very good man.

[00:15:59] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:15:59] Okay. So [00:16:00] we're now in late summer, we have bees that are specific to plants and the sunflowers. Tell us a little bit about these bees.

[00:16:08] Jim Cane: [00:16:08] Yeah. They're members of the genus Melissodes and there's not really a great common name, though you could call them sunflower bees. They're the same tribe as squash bees, but the males are distinctive in Melissodes and other members of their tribe because they have really long antennae for a bee. So you can recognize them from that. And especially in sunflowers and the reason they're special for the homeowner or the naturalist is that as I mentioned with squash bees, the males aren't welcome in the nest. So where the males sleep often is on the flowering heads of sunflowers.

[00:16:51] Normally we don't get to see males sleep. You and I talked earlier and you seen sleeping aggregations of bees on stem . You [00:17:00] can't really direct people on how to find those - it's just serendipitous. Although exciting to find, but these bees you can find sleeping on sunflowers. My experience here and in the Southwest and in Alabama is as you're getting towards sunset, when the day is starting to cool off that's when these males will come into the flowers, land on them, start getting lined up and settled down. Sometimes it's a single pin, I've counted as many as a dozen on a given sunflower head, usually lined up along where the pedals meet the disc flowers. And they'll metabolically shut down and they'll go into a sleep. You can pet them if you pluck them off, I would do that in the morning so they're not so disturbed - but they just buzz very lazy and quietly. And really can't get going for a handful of seconds, not unlike you or I in the morning when the alarm first goes off.

[00:17:59] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:17:59] More like a few [00:18:00] minutes for me. So tell us how long these antenna are. Because they're pretty distinctive, for most people I think when they see a male they think long-horn bee - it's another bee I've hear people talk about. 

[00:18:11] Jim Cane: [00:18:11] Yeah, good memory.

[00:18:13] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:18:13] So how long are these antennae?

[00:18:17] Jim Cane: [00:18:17] They would extend back to the middle of the abdomen. So they're really long, once you see them as a bee, they are the first thing you notice is that the antennae are way longer proportional to the body, to any other bees seen. And depending on the species, the body size is anywhere from half to three quarters of the size of a honeybee and maybe a third to three quarters the size of a honeybee. But the antennae will be at least three times the length of that of a honeybee.

[00:18:49] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:18:49] Okay, all right. And the females are also distinctive. I remember they have these very feathery hairs, these scopa on their [00:19:00] back legs.

[00:19:00] Jim Cane: [00:19:00] They are very plumose, although there's some other genera that look like them, that also go to sunflowers that are relative. But, yes, they would be recognizable - I think the males are going to be the more recognizable of the sexes though, because of those long antennae and sleeping on sunflowers. Perhaps some of the other members of the sunflower family, I've not explored those so much.

[00:19:30] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:19:30] And so these bees are like the squash bees. They're going to make a nest in the ground, I suppose.

[00:19:36] Jim Cane: [00:19:36] Yes, they are also a ground nester, they're also solitary. So each female chooses her nest site digs her own nest, excavates and prepares the little chambers or cells underground to receive the pollen and nectar. She lays her own eggs, defends it against parasitic bees and ants and everything else that she can. She's a very busy little animal [00:20:00] in the course of her three week adult life.

[00:20:02] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:20:02] I guess in the spring, we also have another long-horn bee in the genus Eucera. These are our spring long-horn bees, and they may look superficially the same. But the fact is that these sunflower bees are really going to be, you know, July onwards.

[00:20:18] Jim Cane: [00:20:18] Yeah, Melissodes are summer bees and same tribe, as you mentioned, Eucerini but the genus Eucera or spring bees the same tribe. Which is handy because Melissodes especially are taxonomically very difficult especially when you get to the warm deserts, which is the center of their distribution and diversity. So it's nice that those two often prevalent genera are separated by seasons. So you don't have to identify just by genus and not be confused by which genus it is.

[00:20:58] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:20:58] Okay. So sunflower bees and [00:21:00] squash bees do share this kind of preference for specific plants. And I guess when we think about things like honeybees or bumblebees, they don't have that specificity and other summer bees presumably don't. Tell us a little bit more about how this phenomenon of very kind of tight, specific plant preferences by bees.

[00:21:22] Jim Cane: [00:21:22] Specificity varies with the genus, but probably a substantial minority of bee species are specialists on a small plant family or a tribe of plants, or sometimes just related general plants. Some plants accumulate a lot of these specialists, willows for instance, sunflowers for another example - some plants don't seem to have many specialists at all. So it's a variable trait, but it's a useful one. And that's why floral association for people in [00:22:00] the Oregon Bee Atlas, if they're collecting bees to know at least the genus of flowering plant at which you collected the bee is very valuable for their identification and ultimately for understanding their biology.

[00:22:11] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:22:11] Okay, well, these are two bees you can find in your garden. And I think this is a great transition point, too. You have some really great resources available for people who want to plant for pollinators in their backyard. Can you tell us a little bit about those resources?

[00:22:24] Jim Cane: [00:22:24] Yes. There's two fact sheets published through Utah State Extension. One of them is titled, "Gardening for Bees in Utah and Beyond" and it reflects my gardening experience in several different regions of the country, as well as input from others. It highlights 200 flowering plant genera that are useful to bees and highlights 20 of them that are in my experience, reliable plants that attract a good diversity of bees that people will be rewarded with success and seeing bees if they grow those.

[00:22:59] There's a [00:23:00] second one, "Gardening and Landscaping Practices for Native Nesting Bees" which we think of less often - but what things to do or more importantly, what not to do or what to avoid as a practice if you want ground nesting bees, twig nesting bees to have the chance of colonizing your yard. It's a chance opportunity that they come in and colonize it once they do, if they like where they are and you've got their floral resources and they like your opportunities for nesting they'll be there for a long time. I find a great entertainment and I know other people who are non bee specialists who also find it that way.

[00:23:43] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:23:43] Indeed. And I think people should never underestimate the entertainment value of having a garden that's specifically designed to attract a whole host of bee pollinators. So maybe give us the highlights of those 20 plants that you know, people really shouldn't miss in their gardens.

[00:24:00] [00:24:00] Jim Cane: [00:24:00] Some of them are sunflowers one another great one is prairie clover. And I know over on the east side of the Cascades, you have a Searls' prairie clover which is a wild species, but purple prairie clover the seed is quite available as well it's a great bee plant. Some of the members of the mint family are a good one to go with for bees. Sunflower family we've mentioned there's other ones like Echinacea that's a nice one for bees. And legumes, a number of legumes are really popular with bees. And then there's odd plants around those some of the Malvaceae, globe mallow for instance is popular with bees, or wine cups all sorts of possibilities really.

[00:24:50] It'd be a little bit challenging actually to choose plants that no bee would use, but they're out there. Not many bees [00:25:00] use most of the bulb, although there's some bulbs they'll use. And petunias and doubled marigold aren't so attractive either, but most plants are, so you really can't miss. I just mostly wanted to put ones out there so people could choose from what colors they wanted in what season in their garden.

[00:25:21] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:25:21] It was great. The color patterns are in there. But the other thing I really love about the guide is it has these phenological marker plants so that you can take that bloom chart and you can transpose it to your area using those marker plants.

[00:25:34] Jim Cane: [00:25:34] If anybody wants, I've got the Excel spreadsheet set up, that will make that design it's kind of fun. Weekly go through your yard and score what's in flower, what's in peak flower, what's starting, what's ending. It wasn't bad you'll be surprised how much can be in bloom in a diverse yard.

[00:25:55] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:25:55] Okay. If you want to want to take Dr. Cane up on that, send us [00:26:00] a note and we will connect you in. The final thing I did want to ask about was the second publication. As we have been talking about ground nesting bees, what are some of the things that the gardeners can do for ground nesting bees to make them happy?

[00:26:14] Jim Cane: [00:26:14] Certainly one of the first things is, don't have a yard that's merely dent turf, and weed barrier. Worms and bees, and nothing else can go through weed barrier. You can use weed barrier judiciously and the yard, but in other places have dirt available. It doesn't have to be a big expanse of bare dirt, and it can just be underneath the plants in your garden, but some bare dirt in and around your yard.

[00:26:41] Patches of dirt under your plant patches of it, amidst your bark mulch, things like that. Thick mulches of bark or gravel, they won't nest through. Thin mulches, especially of stone where there's dirt amid the stones, they [00:27:00] actually like quite a lot. They also like to be at the bases of grass tuffets.

[00:27:05] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:27:05] That's really interesting. Sometimes you don't think about it like grasses as being something to put in a pollinator garden. But to pick up on your earlier point, I've noticed, for example, we have this gravelly packed dirt bank here at OSU in the cactus garden, and it's always reliably full of bees. And I guess when we're talking about the soil that is attracting the bees, it's not, you know, for example, the cultivated bed or things like that which you may want to mulch. We're talking perhaps things that you may not consider prime real estate for ground nesting bees.

[00:27:38] Jim Cane: [00:27:38] I can tell you from experience that bees are more patient with compacted rocky dirt then our bee scientists trying to very carefully excavate their nests. They will commonly be in tire tracks in a tire track road, as long as it's not real busy and dusty. [00:28:00] You'll find them nesting in the gravel, entire track roads which is horrible surface to dig through with a trowel or a spoon while you're trying to not lose track of the nest tunnel.

[00:28:14] So for whatever reason, they don't seem to mind that too much. The really hard substrate like adobe there are some species who will bring either nectar or water in their crop and regurgitate it on the surface to soften it and then dig. And they don't have to go very far to have a really sturdy well defended nest. So there are some species that who will do that, that you'll find in soft sandstone in hard dry clays and caliche and desert. It's pretty remarkable it's hard on their mandibles, but they do it.

[00:28:47] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:28:47] Well, I guess that brings up a point when it does come to ground nesting, I guess people may think, "oh, I need to, you know, have some very fluffy dirt" or something like that. But when we're talking about [00:29:00] nesting some of these unmulched, unprotected parts of the garden, don't have to be a pathway or something like that. It doesn't necessarily need to be.

[00:29:13] Jim Cane: [00:29:13] Really loose dirt they have a little bit of trouble with. Thick dust they really do have trouble with. One other thing I might advise, although you don't have to do it religiously, but if you have a irrigation system, have it run at night. Because if the mother bee flies out during the day to go forage, your irrigation comes on washes away or nest entrance. She's not going to be able to find it, or it's going to have great difficulty when she comes home half an hour later. Where if it's at night because all mother bees generally sleep in their nests, they can dig their way out, do a little orientation flight. Now the somewhat changed and muddy landscape and be able to come and go again, just like they did the day before you watered. So [00:30:00] water in evening or at night to make it most likely that they'll be able to find their nest again.

[00:30:07] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:30:07] What a great tip. And I think what you're pointing out with the squash bees and sunflower bees, sweat bees, they all will have a little bit of dirt they've dug out. They've displaced all this dirt to the surface and that they may use that as an orientation.

[00:30:24] Jim Cane: [00:30:24] Yeah.

[00:30:26] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:30:26] Well, thanks for the tips and thanks for introducing us to these really amazing and approachable summer bees.

[00:30:33] Jim Cane: [00:30:33] And reiterate if it's a sleeping male, feel free to pet them because they don't have a sting.

[00:30:40] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:30:40] Well, fantastic. I encourage people to listen to the show if they missed it, the first show that you were on with alkali bees and leaf cutting bees.

[00:30:48] And I'm looking forward to having you back in the future on the show to tell us more about the amazing bees that we have here in Oregon!

[00:30:55] Jim Cane: [00:30:55] Very good Andony, you are [00:31:00] very welcome.

[00:31:05] Andony Melathopoulos: [00:31:05] Thanks so much for listening. Show notes with information discussed in each episode can be found at pollinationpodcast.oregonstate.edu. We'd also love to hear from you, and there are several ways to connect for one, you can visit our website to post an episode specific comment, suggest a future guest or topic, or ask a question that could be featured in a future episode. You can also email us at pollinationpodcast@oregonstate.edu. Finally, you can tweet questions or comments or join our Facebook or Instagram communities, just look us up at OSU Pollinator Health. If you like the show, consider letting iTunes know by leaving us a review or rating, it makes us more visible, which helps others discover PolliNation.

[00:31:47] See you next week! [00:32:00]


Squash bees were recently discovered in Oregon last year. This week we talk to Dr. Jim Cane about the biology of squash bees and what how far (and fast) it might spread into the state. We also take this opportunity to have Dr. Cane profile another summer bee that can be found in virtually any backyard in Oregon – the sunflower bee of the genus Melissodes.  Dr. Cane recently retired as a Research Entomologist with the USDA’s Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research in Logan, UT.

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