|July Bee of the Month
Above: Male Peponapis pruinosa inside of a squash flower
Our July Bee of the Month is Peponapis pruinosa, the squash bee! This golden-colored bee is aptly named due to female squash bees’ pollen specialist behavior on cucurbit flowers (Cucurbita spp.). Pictured above, these squash bees are medium-sized, have hairy thoraxes, and the females (when collecting) will have pollen on their hind legs
This bee can be seen in a wide range of places all across North America. Their emergences are synced with the opening of cucurbit flowers. Females start to visit flowers as early as 5 am, when some cucurbit flowers, like squash, begin to open. The best time of day to see them is earlier in the day. Male squash bees can be found sleeping in closed squash flowers in the afternoon.
This past weekend on June 24, during the Sonoma Bee Count, one of our citizen scientists caught a squash bee off a squash flower!