Identify Types of Bees: The Peponapis Squash Bee

Foraging habits differentiate the Peponapis bee, commonly referred to as a “Squash Bee,” from other types of bees. Squash Bees focus their pollination and feeding habits almost entirely on members of the squash family.

| November 7, 2013

  • All Squash Bees specialize in gathering nectar and pollen from flowers of squash plants (Cucurbita), including pumpkins, watermelons, squashes, and gourds. Females provide their young with nectar and pollen strictly from squash.
    Photo By Mace Vaughan/The Xerces Society
  • Bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, flies and some beetles pollinate more than 70 percent of flowering plants, but North America's native pollinators face multiple threats to their health and habitat. In "Attracting Native Pollinators," the Xerces Society offers a complete action plan for protecting these industrious animals by providing flowering habitat and nesting sites while also providing specifics for identifying types of bees and other pollinating insects.
    Cover Courtesy Storey Publishing

The Xerces Society, a nonprofit conservation organization, is a leader in the effort to conserve North America's native pollinators. Founded in 1971, the society protects insects and other invertebrates through advocacy, education, policy development and applied research projects aimed at protecting and managing critical habitat. Attracting Native Pollinators (Storey Publishing, 2011), by The Xerces Society, is a complete action plan and information guide for protecting bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, flies and some beetles by providing flowering habitat and nesting sites.The following excerpt is from Part 3: Bees of North America.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Attracting Native Pollinators

Peponapis: Squash Bees

(pep-on-AY-pus)

FAMILY: Apidae



SUBFAMILY: Apinae

These bees get their common name from their very close association with squash flowers. Peponapis is a small genus of 13 species limited to the Americas. They are most abundant and diverse in the deserts of Mexico and the southwestern United States, but one species, Peponapis pruinosa, is transcontinental and has spread as far north as Canada.






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