Pollination Recommendations and Practices:
Unfortunately, concrete data are scarce on the pollination of crops of the genus Cucurbita. As a result, most publications merely generalize with such statements as " . . . largely insect pollinated" (Thompson et al. 1955), "Transfer of pollen is usually accomplished by insects, chiefly honey bees" (Jones and Rosa 1928*, Purseglove 1968*), "Honey bees are the usual agents. .. " Hawthorn and Pollard (1954*), or "insect pollinated" (Whitaker and Davis 1962*). The "one colony of honey bees per acre" recommended for cantaloupe (McGregor and Todd 1952*) might be expected to apply to Cucurbita also, but proof should be established.
Sanduleac (1959) reported one to two colonies per 25 acres in the area of his test. Eckert (1959*) suggested that one strong colony per 2 acres of squash may be enough under irrigated conditions in California. Jaycox (1969) listed pumpkins and squash along with many other crops and generalized without supporting data that most crops require one strong colony per acre. Wolfenbarger (1962) showed continued increase in squash production in Florida up to three colonies per acre without hitting a peak in production.
Available evidence shows that the plants must be insect pollinated, and that honey bees are the chief pollinators. Detailed studies, correlating bee visits to flowers with yield, quality, and related factors have not been carried out. Where yields are low, an additional one to three colonies per acre should be provided for at least 3 years to determine their value. The literature indicates that colonies nearby are most effective. (1)