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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

zucchine flower - Page 2 I22gcj10zucchine flower - Page 2 14dhcg10

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zucchine flower

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Pollinator
Marc Iverson
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southern gardener
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Post  Pollinator 7/11/2014, 9:24 am

sanderson wrote:Nope, no bees after they pollinated the orange tree.  If it wasn't for syrphid flies, I wouldn't have any cucumbers, cantaloupes, or tomatillos.  Well, there's a big black bumble bee that I have seen on the cantaloupe, and a bee "sleeping" in a squash blossom.  I use paint brushes for pollinating.

The borage didn't seem to attract any bees.  I think I will plant those in the flower garden in the front next year.  The zinnias were at least attractive to the butterflies, though.

Your bee sleeping in the squash blossom was a good sign. This is a male squash bee, Peponapis. These bees work only squash and their relatives. Look for the females in the squash flowers before sunup for the first shift. Mine retire about an hour after sunrise, and the bumble bees take over for the second shift. Honey bees don't visit squash blossoms in my garden - there are more attractive flowers, like cukes, cantaloupe, and watermelons available.

Honey bees will work squash, if nothing else is available. This is why they are used in commercial fields, where they do a good pollination job, and squash bees are absent. Squash bees nest in the ground, and are highly sensitive to pesticides, so between tilling and spraying, they don't have much chance in big fields.

You can build up the population of squash bees, by leaving a bare patch of ground that they can nest in, and make sure they have squash to work on, every year.

"Attracting bees" is just too short sighted a goal. Bee populations in many areas are so thin that you'll just attract them right away from the blossoms you want pollinated - if you attract any at all.

We need a more comprehensive goal - to "build pollinator populations." When bees are plentiful, they compete with each other and all blossoms get worked.

To build bee populations, we must consider their other needs than food. They need nesting areas - some nest in the ground, so need some ground left bare. Some nest in cavities, such as borer holes in wood, or hollow canes. Some nest in briar stems. So we can provide housing for them by providing sheltered bundles of hollow canes and blackberry stems. You can also provide blocks of wood with pre-drilled holes. Some need mud to nest - if your area is dry in summer, provide a pan with a big lump of clay under a dripping faucet or air conditioner drain. That will provide both water and mud.

Most of all our pollinators depend on freedom from poisoning by pesticides. One application can wipe out all the good you do otherwise. So it's time to educate yard-fogging neighbors, and public officials who spray every time someone complains about a mosquito bite.

In most cases mosquitoes can be better dealt with by taking care of their breeding sites, but a lot of people are too lazy to deal with that. It's more convenient, and a public relations sop (not an effective one either) for people to see the spray trucks out running the streets.

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Post  sanderson 7/11/2014, 10:44 am

Pollinator, Thank you for taking the time to write a nice, long informative reply. I have a question regarding the following year. Do some of the pollinators of the "bee/wasp" families " live long enough to pass on to the next generation/s the locations that they found pollen the previous year? I hope this makes sense.
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Post  southern gardener 7/11/2014, 10:57 am

Thank you Pollinator for the info! I keep finding blackish bees sleeping in my squash flowers too! so that was really interesting!
My Borage flowers are covered in bees, even past sunset. I am amazed that any of my squash don't get pollinated because of all the bees, but they do miss a few. I try to pollinate too Smile Especially thoose Tromboncino.

Again, TY Pollinator!!
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Post  jrfrommd 7/11/2014, 2:40 pm

seem to have a good # of bees...been hand pollinating in addition...had a summer squash or 2 start to grow..the shrivel & die...but others take off like nobody's business.....perplexed!
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Post  Pollinator 7/12/2014, 12:04 am

sanderson wrote:Pollinator,  Thank you for taking the time to write a nice, long informative reply.  I have a question regarding the following year.  Do some of the pollinators of the "bee/wasp" families " live long enough to pass on to the next generation/s the locations that they found pollen the previous year?  I hope this makes sense.  

No, but most of the solitary bees will nest very close to the sites where they got fed. The flight range of most solitary bees is very short. So the next generation will be working where their progenitors found food.
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Post  Pollinator 7/12/2014, 12:12 am

southern gardener wrote:Thank you Pollinator for the info! I keep finding blackish bees sleeping in my squash flowers too! so that was really interesting!
My Borage flowers are covered in bees, even past sunset. I am amazed that any of my squash don't get pollinated because of all the bees, but they do miss a few. I try to pollinate too Smile Especially thoose Tromboncino.

Again, TY Pollinator!!

One of the pop psychology slogans is: "Different strokes for different folks."

I'm not so sure about that for people, but each species of bee has its preferences. You can have "plenty of bees," but none of them visit your squash, because that's not their preference.

For example, I have honey bee hives in my back yard, but never see them on my squash blossoms. Instead they are happily on the cucumber and melon blossoms. Likewise they rarely go to the tomatoes. For my squash, there are two shifts, one starting before daybreak. That is Peponapis, the little squash bee. They retire about an hour after sunrise and the bumble bee take second shift for the next couple hours.

The result: if I didn't have squash bees or bumble bees, I could think my garden was in fine shape, because honey bees were all over the cucumbers, the watermelons, and the honeydews. But that wouldn't be true would it?

We gardeners need to spend a little time observing and learning. Which bees go to which plants? Are these bees plentiful, or are they sparse? Some observation can give you a pile of info to process.
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Post  southern gardener 7/12/2014, 2:14 am

Pollinator wrote:
southern gardener wrote:Thank you Pollinator for the info! I keep finding blackish bees sleeping in my squash flowers too! so that was really interesting!
My Borage flowers are covered in bees, even past sunset. I am amazed that any of my squash don't get pollinated because of all the bees, but they do miss a few. I try to pollinate too Smile Especially thoose Tromboncino.

Again, TY Pollinator!!

One of the pop psychology slogans is: "Different strokes for different folks."

I'm not so sure about that for people, but each species of bee has its preferences. You can have "plenty of bees," but none of them visit your squash, because that's not their preference.

For example, I have honey bee hives in my back yard, but never see them on my squash blossoms. Instead they are happily on the cucumber and melon blossoms. Likewise they rarely go to the tomatoes. For my squash, there are two shifts, one starting before daybreak. That is Peponapis, the little squash bee. They retire about an hour after sunrise and the bumble bee take second shift for the next couple hours.

The result: if I didn't have squash bees or bumble bees, I could think my garden was in fine shape, because honey bees were all over the cucumbers, the watermelons, and the honeydews. But that wouldn't be true would it?

We gardeners need to spend a little time observing and learning. Which bees go to which plants?  Are these bees plentiful, or are they sparse? Some observation can give you a pile of info to process.
yep!! I love watching them. There is hardly any flower in my garden that doesn't have a bee in or around it in the morning especially, that's why I'm surprised when a squash doesn't pollinate. I just read tho, a flower may not pollinate if the plant has lots of fruit on it, in order to sustain the fruit that's already there...which was "yes" on quite a few of my squash. Do you know if that's true Pollinator? See the BTE thread about my Tromboncino squash if you'd like Smile
TY for all the great info!  I love it!!
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Post  jrfrommd 7/12/2014, 7:27 am

thank you for the insights!
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