Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Buzzing Bees

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Buzzing Bees

Article excerpt

There are more than 4,000 species of bees in North America, but the honeybee is not one of them. Honeybees were introduced from Europe in the early 1600s. Most people know that honeybees are good for crops, but they don't pollinate everything. Squash, melons, cucumbers, blueberries and other foods that evolved in North America often require native bees to spread their pollen.

Our native bumblebees live in groups and produce honey but on a smaller scale than honeybees. Bumblebees can pollinate flowers by buzzing the pollen loose, making them important for plants not visited by honeybees. Bumblebees are excellent pollinators of blueberries, raspberries, tomatoes and peppers.

Squash bees look similar to honeybees, but their lives are quite different. While honeybees live in a hive with a queen and many workers, squash bees are solitary. Squash bees rely on the pollen from cucumber, pumpkin, melon and squash flowers. They are adapted to be active in lower light and temperatures than other bees - some are even active at night. …

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