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Spaced out bumbles

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Post by Ploshkin on 12th August 2013, 2:12 pm

I'm growing some squashes called Uchiki Kuri for the first time because they're reputed to do ok even in a bad year. A couple of days ago I noticed that the flowers had an incredibly powerful scent. I've been watching the bumble bees visiting the flowers but when I looked closer I realised that every open flower had at least one bumble bee in it, some of them two or three. As the day went on they appeared to become increasingly dozy until eventually most of them were just lying on their sides at the bottom of a flower. I know that bumble bees do sometimes spend the night in flowers & the petals close up around them so I don't know if these were just getting in an early kip or were high or intoxicated - it's quite entertaining to watch them. They don't do it in any of the other squash or courgette flowers
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Post by Dandelion on 12th August 2013, 2:38 pm

Couldn't get mine to germinate this year, and didn't have much success last year (one fruit only!) so haven't had a chance to see the crazy bumble behaviour Sad 

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Post by freebird on 12th August 2013, 4:28 pm

Did the bees recover?
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Post by Dandelion on 12th August 2013, 5:05 pm

Quote from bumblebee.org (Next to photo of bumble bees in courgette flowers)
On the left are Bombus hortorum workers inside a courgette flower. Bumblebees love courgette flowers and stay in them a long time, especially on cold days as the temperature inside the flower is much higher than that of the outside. Males will even spend the night inside them.
This sounds like Ploshkin's bumble bees (though squashes instead of courgettes)

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Ploshkin on 13th August 2013, 1:26 pm

Yes the bees do recover, they're gone by the early morning. I've noticed 3 tiny holes at the base of the flowers that the bees spend a lot of time with their tongues in - must be the entrance to the nectaries. I think they just get drunk & fall over (like Swansea on a Saturday night).
It's a pity about your failure to germinate, Dandelion, because it is looking to be a fairly promising squash year especially the Uchis, there are about ten grapefruit sized ones at the mo & some fairly hopeful butternuts too.
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Post by Mike on 16th August 2013, 12:29 pm

@Ploshkin wrote:I'm growing some squashes called Uchiki Kuri for the first time .........  They don't do it in any of the other squash or courgette flowers
Really? I would think even the most expert botanist couldn't distinguish between varieties of squashes of the species C. maxima (what all kuri varieties are) until the fruits have formed. Same for C. moschata. C. pepo is a bit different as some of this species vine and some have the bush habit and that at least you could distinguish. But say between C. pepo that is a zucchini and C. pepo that is a yellow crookneck you aren't going to tell apart when still in the flowering stage (many of the varieties sold as yellow straightneck in the market are actually yellow zucchinis).

If you grow squashes and want to save seed you need to know the species. You can grow one variety of C. pepo, one of C. moschata, and one of C. maxima in close proximity and still save seed. But if you grow two varieties of the same species the fruits you get the next year will be unpredictable.

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