Common throughout the United States and Mexico, squash bees are important pollinators of genus Cucurbita plants, zucchini, pumpkins, summer squash, winter squash, as well as many gourds, excluding cucumbers. Before other bees are active, squash bees often visit these flowers starting around sunrise, making their behavior more identifiable. Today, we at A Five Star Termite & Pest Control would like to further elaborate on squash bees.
Squash Bee Identification
The general size and coloration of squash bees significantly resembles honeybees, often causing confusion between the two species. At a closer look however, squash bees are larger and bulkier, as well as have rounder faces and longer antennae. Another distinguishing feature in females, it that they have very fuzzy hind legs which may be covered all over in loose pollen, where the honeybees have smooth, flat hind legs. The female’s face is completely dark, and the male features a yellow spot on the face. Though they are both very fuzzy bees, males are not usually covered in pollen as they do not carry it.
Squash Bees are Solitary, Ground Nesting Bees
They do not live in a colony or in a hive, like honeybees and bumble bees. In the soil, female’s dig a nest, collect the nectar and pollen to feed the offspring. The nests are built six to 12 inches underground where the new generation of bees spend most of the year sealed in the cells. These bees are active in the summer and throughout the season, squash bee young develop in the individual cells the mother prepared. The flowers of the genus Cucurbita open at dawn, when these bees get hard to work until about mid-day. Though honeybees and bumblebees are adequate pollinators of squash plants, squash bees are more than enough.
What Do Leaf Cutter Bees Look Like?
A valuable and efficient pollinator, leafcutter bees are a part of the Megachile. The bees are similar to mason bees, where they nest in cavities instead of hives. They look for ready made cavities or will build nests in soft rotting wood that can be excavated. By overlapping segments of leaf to make a cylindrical cavity that looks a little like a cigar, they will build cells using the pieces of leaf as lining after they find the perfect spot. A little segment of leaf seals up each seal. These nests are only about 4 to 8 inches long.
Leafcutter Bee Life Cycle
In spring, a new generation of adult females emerge from their nests. She will begin constructing her nest and lay a single egg where she will supply it with pollen so the hatched larvae can feed. Inside these cells, the larvae develop into adults throughout the winter and emerge as grown adults all over again. Like the squash bee, they are solitary bees. Much like how squash bees resemble honeybees, so do the leafcutter bee. These bees do not have pollen baskets on the hind legs but instead they collect pollen on hairs on the underside of their abdomens.
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No matter which type of bee is invading your property, A Five Star Termite Pest Control can assist you in collecting bees and relocating them if you are worried about the health risks keeping them on location. Call us today to get started!