Squash Bee Community Science

Is there anything cuter than a bee who sleeps inside a squash blossom?  Now that the “squash bee” aka Peponapis pruinosa has officially been discovered in Oregon, we want to find more of them!  Can you help us with a very delightful and simple community science project?  Yes!?  Great.  Just follow the steps below.

1. Watch this video of me showing off two male Peponapis a few weeks ago to a group of bee habitat workshop goers at The Farm at Southern Oregon University (where I first spotted the bee with my students about 5 years ago).

2. Read my blog post about how it all came to “bee.”

3. Listen to this PolliNation Podcast where Dr. Andony Melathopoulos interviews squash bee expert, Dr. Jim Cane.

4. Watch this video from Dr. Cane to get familiar with what you are looking for.   

5. Check out some pictures of them here and here.

6. Observe and record!

  • Print out one of the data sheets below,

  • Grab your camera,

  • Go outside and find some squash, pumpkin, or gourd blossoms,

  • Give the blossom a gentle pinch,  

  • If the blossom buzzes back at you, there’s a squash bee in there!  Don’t worry, those are males (females sleep in the soil), and they don’t have stingers.

7. If you are in Oregon: Fill out and send in this data sheet and photos to the Oregon Bee Project via LRBest@gmail.com.

8. If you are in any other US state, Mexico, or Canada, fill out this data sheet and send it to the USDA Logan Bee Lab via jim.cane2@gmail.com.

9. Share it! Post what you find on social media and use the hashtag #squashbeehunt

10. Keep an eye on my social media, blog, and newsletter for updates, discoveries, and data from the field that you contributed to!

You can find more of my bee adventures @sarahbeegirl on Instragram, Facebook, and Twitter.  

Sarah Red-LairdComment