The hoary squash bee is the most abundant flower visitor to pumpkin and squash crops in Ontario and most pumpkin and squash crops in the province depend upon it for pollination. This important pollinator only gathers pollen from pumpkin and squash to raise its young and has no wild host plants. It mates on pumpkin or squash flowers, and it rests there too during the afternoon and evening. Understandably, this year you may be considering reducing the number of acres of pumpkin that you plant because pumpkin festivals may not be allowed under COVID-19 regulations.
However, if you wish to maintain strong populations of hoary squash bees on your farm next year and the following years, plant at least an acres of pumpkin or squash on your farm. This will provide the nectar, pollen, mating sites, and resting sites that are critical to the survival of this important wild pollinator on your farm. Please contact Susan Chan, firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.
Author: Susan Chan is a pollination biologist with a background in agriculture and education.