following question was sent to the P&PDL diagnosticians here
at Purdue University:
Question: I haven't been seeing many bees this year in
my garden. I don't think there have been enough to pollinate my
squash. Is there some way I can pollinate the blossoms artifically?
Answer: Squash, as well as all the other vine crops, produce
separate male and female flowers on the same plant. It is tedious
work but one can hand-pollinate the squash by using a small artist's
paintbrush and touching it to the pollen-bearing stamens in the
male flowers and then to the receptive tip of the pistil in the
female flower (the one that appears to have a small squash at the
It is important to make sure that the plant is actually producing
both male and female flowers before assuming that bees are not
doing their job. Often, the first flush of flowers are all males
and so will fal off without producing fruit. Extreme hot or cold
weather can also cause the production of female flowers to cease
or to render pollen ineffective.
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