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The Pollination Efficiency of the Squash Bee (Peponapis pruinosa) and the Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) on Summer Squash (Cucurbita pepo)

Vincent J. Tepedino
Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society
Vol. 54, No. 2 (Apr., 1981), pp. 359-377
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25084168
Page Count: 19
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Pollination Efficiency of the Squash Bee (Peponapis pruinosa) and the Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) on Summer Squash (Cucurbita pepo)
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Abstract

Observations were made and experiments conducted to ascertain if the specialized squash bee, P. pruinosa, is superior to the honey bee as a pollinator of summer squash. Three parameters contributing to pollination efficiency are: the number of visits necessary to achieve pollination, the preference of the bees for staminate or pistillate flowers, and the average time spent foraging on a flower. Results of bagging and controlled-visit experiments showed that individual visits to pistillate flowers by each species were equivalent. Honey bees displayed a significant preference for pistillate flowers; squash bees preferred male flowers. Squash bees worked the flowers more rapidly than did honey bees. When all parameters are considered, there appears to be little difference between the species as pollinators of squash. Where squash bee populations are strong, the use of honey bee colonies is superfluous. In this study most pollination was accomplished by squash bees before honey bees appeared in numbers on the planting.

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