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A close-up photo of a bee in a squash blossom.

Want more squash? Take care of your bees!

Photo of a variety of squash and gourds. Photo taken 10-05-19.In 2019, the estimated value of farmed squash and pumpkin in Florida was over $35 million. So problems with squash yields can get very expensive in this state. If your squash and pumpkin plants fail to yield the harvest you expected, the issue may not be with the plants. It may be a bee problem.

Fortunately, whether you are a backyard hobbyist or a farmer with many acres, UF/IFAS and EDIS have answers. The recent publication Pollination of Cucurbita spp (Squash and Pumpkin) Crops in Florida can help you help your bees help your squash. Not just the familiar honey bees but also bumble bees and other wild bees are squash and pumpkin pollination specialists in Florida. Learn about different bee varieties and ways to attract them to your farm or garden to pollinate your zucchinis and butternuts.

Read on to learn to spot signs of trouble and get the tools you need to improve pollination. Authors Rachel E. Mallinger and Oscar E. Liburd of the UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology Department explain how pollination works for squash and pumpkin. They will help you master the basics to nurture healthy pollinators—and healthy crops. Discover ways to grow a population of bees. Get information on how to use managed bumble bees. Learn to choose the right varieties so enough of both sexes of flowers bloom at the same time for pollinating insects to do their magic. With squash and pumpkins, bees are the key to a bountiful harvest.a photo of a little boy in a sunlit squash field laughing and holding a huge zucchini.

Check the EDIS website for more reliable, current publications about bees for pollination. New publications on this and a host of other topics of interest come out every week at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.