Peponapis / squash Bee

Family: Apidae

Genus: Peponapis

Common Name: Squash Bee

APPEARANCE

Physical Appearance

Golden-brown colored bees, both males and females have a fuzzy, gold colored thorax. Males are distinguished by a yellow spot on the lower margin of the face below the antennae (just above the mandibles), lacking in the females.

 

Males have particularly long antennae.

 

The female carries pollen in brushes of specialized hairs on her hind legs.

 

Characteristics

Females forage for pollen and nectar in squash flowers in early morning.


Peponapis species are an example of oligolectic bees - that is they specialize in gathering pollen exclusively from a group of related plant species, in this case from members of the family Cucurbitaceae, which includes squash, gourds, and pumpkin.

 

Oligolectic bees time their emergence as adults to coincide with the flowering period of their pollen plants. Accordingly, Peponapis species emerge in late summer with the appearance of squash blossoms.

Oligolectic bees will typically gather nectar from a broader range of flowers than they will pollen.

Peponapis females forage on squash flowers in the early morning.

 

The close association between Peponapis species and squash flowers is further highlighted by behavioral patterns that do not involve foraging. For instance, mating occurs inside the squash flowers and males typically sleep in the flowers which close from late afternoon until the following morning.

 

As specialists, Peponapis are highly efficient and important pollinators of our cultivated North American squashes.

 

Size: Medium, golden-brown colored bees, approximately 1/2 inch in length.

HABITS

Distribution

There are only fifteen identified species of Peponapis, and all are limited to the Americas. The greatest abundance of North American Peponapis occurs in the Southwest United States; however, one particular species, Peponapis pruinosa, has an extensive range across the United States, in some locations reaching as far north as Canada.

 

Number of species in North America

Thirteen

 

Emergence Time
Late summer

 

Nesting Habit
Ground nesting

 

Pollinated Garden Crops Include

Squash
Gourds
Pumpkin

 

Additional Flowers Visited in Natural Areas

Ipomoea (morning glory) – for nectar only

Visited Plants

Asclepias / Milkweed

Cucurbita / Gourd

Please reload

Contact us
  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Black YouTube Icon
  • Black Pinterest Icon

National Headquarters
660 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, #402
Washington, DC 20003
phone (202) 547-9359 | fax (202) 547-9429

office@centerforfoodsafety.org
 

www.centerforfoodsafety.org

© 2018 Center for Food Safety

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This material is protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No text may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without express written permission or proper citation. Please credit any and all use of our work product to: Center for Food Safety, www.centerforfoodsafety.org.