Squash Bees

Squash Bees (Genera Peponapis and Xenoglossa) 

Size: Large to Very Large: Peponapis pruinosa (12-14 mm) and Xenoglossa species (14-18 mm) {Size Comparison-the average honeybee is 13mm}

Color: Head and thorax range in color from black or tan to orange. The top of the head is generally black, and the lower half of the head (clypeus/labrum) is yellow to white. Thorax is hairy. Black with banded (black, white, or tan) abdomen stripes

Type of Flight: Primarily fly pre-dawn to mid-morning, but also flies near dusk when squash/melon flowers open.

Distinguishing Characteristics:

(1) The lower 1/3 of the face (the area around the mouth- clypeus/labrum) is light colored (yellow to white); while the rest of the face/head is black

(2) One of the few bees that actively fly pre-dawn

(3) Mating occurs within squash blossoms

(4) Males may be found sleeping in squash blossoms

Abundance: Common

Typically Found in Georgia: Late April – Late November

Pollination Value: Very High (Major pollinators of squash, watermelons, and cucumbers)

Plants Associated with: Family Cucurbitaceae (squash and cucumbers). These bees are pollen specialists (oligolects) for gourds, cucumbers, and very closely related plants.

Nesting Habitat: These bees are ground nesters. Male Squash Bees may nest in blossoms, while females build ground nests in areas adjacent to food sources.

Classification: Family: Apidae     Genus: Peponapis or Xenoglossa

Number of Species in Georgia: 1 Peponapis and 2 species of Xenoglossa

Number of Species in United States: 6 Peponapis and 5 species of Xenoglossa