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Ensuring pumpkin pollination

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.

Presenter bio:
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.

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The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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