Pumpkin planting is scheduled to move forward as usual for much of Ontario. If you are considering reducing pumpkin acreage this year, please see the information below from squash bee expert Susan Chan: your squash bees are entirely reliant on your crop. Following her advice will help ensure healthy pollinator populations for future crops of pumpkins and squash on your farm.
Maintaining Important Pollinators on your Pumpkin & Squash Crops
By Susan Willis Chan
The hoary squash bee is the most abundant flower visitor to pumpkin and squash crops in Ontario and most pumpkin and squash crops in the province depend upon it for pollination. This important pollinator only gathers pollen from pumpkin and squash to raise its young and has no wild host plants. It mates on pumpkin or squash flowers, and it rests there too during the afternoon and evening. If you wish to maintain strong populations of hoary squash bees on your farm next year and the following years, please plant at least an acre of pumpkin or squash on your farm. This will provide the nectar, pollen, mating sites, and resting sites that are critical to the survival of this important wild pollinator on your farm. For more information please contact Susan Chan, firstname.lastname@example.org.