|Morning in my three sisters garden. How many blurry bees can you spot in this picture?|
|Peponapis pruinosa butt|
Squash bees are interesting for a number of reasons. For one, they are a species that has actually expanded its range with human influence. Because these bees can only feed on squash, once humans domesticated squash and introduced it far beyond its original range (southern plains to the southwest), the squash bees followed suit and expanded their home region. The females often dig their nests directly under squash plants, and the males sleep in squash blossoms at night. Another interesting fact: because squash blossoms open before dawn and close a few hours later, squash bees have adopted the same crepuscular pattern of activity. They fly well before most bees wake.
In addition to the squash bees, I've seen number of fuzzy, medium sized black bees. I have no idea about their genus, but they visit the squash blossoms as frequently as the squash bees. I am so pleased that these helpful creatures are ensuring my gourds and melons are well pollinated this summer, and I'm sure they are happy for the meal.