Pumpkin is entirely dependent on insects for pollination. We first review the flower structure and the pollen and nectar rewards pumpkins offers to achieve pollination, and what that means for fruit set. We overview the range of bee species that interact with these flowers in commercial settings, and then focus on the three dominant species for providing pollination: bumble bees, squash bees, and honey bees. We review their biology and ecology, and detail visitation rates and population levels observed in commercial settings. We discuss how management - rotation, tillage, IPM practices, floral provisioning with perennial meadows or cover crops, rental of managed honey and bumble bees, and irrigation - at the farm and landscape scale can help conserve both wild and managed bees that provide the ecosystem service of pollination to pumpkins. To watch the recording of this webinar click on the link on the upper right-hand corner of this page.
Shelby J. Fleischer is a Professor of Entomology at Pennsylvania State University. Fleischer has 25 years’ research and Extension experience in vegetable cropping systems focused on insect population dynamics and advancing IPM. Priority is placed on advancing economically feasible management that improves worker and environmental safety. His research emphasizes experiential education with graduate students, and he has authored/co-authored 90 peer-reviewed publications. He conducts educational programs with farmers and agricultural industry personnel, and In-Service education programs for Extension Educators.