Contact the CoNPS Team

Administration (virtual office)
1536 Wynkoop Street, Suite 911
Denver, Co 80202

Programs HQ & Store
704 East Boulder Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Specialist Pollinators!

squash bees inside flower

The only reason you can eat squash – specialist squash bees! Photo:©Ilona Loser: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

One example of many specialists includes the squash bee. Colorado has a native squash called Buffalo Gourd- Cucurbita foetidissima. This native plant gets pollinated ONLY by squash bees in the genera Peponapis and Xenoglossa. I have never been so lucky to photograph the squash bees on this native cucumber, but I do have photos of the flowers and fruit.

You can’t eat squash without squash bees! ©Carol English

“North America has many delicious native fruits and vegetables, many of which have specialist pollinators they depend upon. What do cherries, plums, serviceberries, black raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and crab apples have in common (apart from making your mouth water)? What about blueberries, cranberries, teaberries, and kinnikinnick?

Some of North America’s native bees migrated from South and Central America as indigenous peoples expanded squash and pumpkin production northwards. If you grow squash or pumpkin, squash bees (Peponapis and Xenoglossa species) are easy to recognize once you know to look for them…Squash bees are specialist pollinators of cucurbits (squash, cucumbers, pumpkins), and have expanded their native range alongside the cultivation of these crops”. 

Jefferson County Master Gardeners: Pollinator of the Week
The Great Oregon Squash Bee Hunt

Carol English