No-tillage farming increases abundance of wild bees on squash and pumpkin farms in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, eastern USA
Shuler R.E., Roulston T.H. & Farris G.E. (2005) Farming practices influence wild pollinator populations on squash and pumpkin. Journal of Economic Entomology, 98, 790-795.
Squash and pumpkin Cucurbita spp. are valuable crops requiring pollination by insects. In the USA, they are commonly visited by the wild squash bee, Peponapis pruinosa, a specialised feeder on plants of the genus Cucurbita. This bee depends on farmed crops in the eastern US (where there are no wild Cucurbita species). Females nest in the soil near squash plants. This study examined the effects of tillage and pesticide use on squash bee populations in the states of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia (eastern USA).
Twenty-five farms with large squash or pumpkin plantings (from <0.5 to 40 ha) were selected. Twelve had no pesticides applied, 13 had one or more pesticides applied.