In Vermont, this genus is closely tied to cultivated squash, having followed Native American cultivation of these crops from the South Western US and Central America. It only collects pollen from the large-flowered squash varieties (i.e. pumpkins, winter squash, zucchini). If you plant squash, they will almost certainty find it.

Female Squash Bee doing what it does best

Genus level ID – Squash Bees are in the Long-horned Bee tribe, and are similar to Long-horned Bees (Genus Melissodies). They are slightly larger than a honey bee and covered with dense hairs – mostly pale orange on the thorax. Their clypeus is slightly swollen clypeus with a yellow rim on males. Best found and identified by checking squash blossoms early in the morning (Honey Bees and Bumble Bees are also common visitors to squash). Only one species in the northeast.

 

Currently most sources still refer to Peponapis as a stand-alone genus, but new evidence has suggested it is better treated as a subgenus of the Eucera. Expect the name to change in the future.

Unless otherwise specified, photos are courtesy of Margarita Miklasevskaja at PCYU with funding from NSERC-CANPOLIN.