Watermelon, Squashes and Cucumber

Watermelon and other melons flourish in dryland areas of Kenya. Watermelon is an important source of nutrition for many people and is a high value crop.

Watermelons grow as creepers, have separate male and female flowers on the same plant, and are pollinated by many different kinds of bees and flies. It takes the transfer of many thousands of pollen grains onto the stigma of a receptive watermelon flower to produce a large, tasty fruit. The amount of pollen deposited correlates to the quality, and flavour of the fruit. Large amounts of pollen produce the best fruits. Wild solitary bees, stingless bees, and hoverflies have been recorded as being good pollen transporters and pollinators of watermelon flowers.

Watermelons, sweet melons, butternut squashes, and pumpkins are all in the same family Cucurbitaceae. All of these crops are highly dependent on pollinators. Leave some areas of natural habitat to encourage pollinators and manage pesticides carefully during flowering.

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Stingless bee on cucumber by D. J. Martins
Stingless bee on cucumber by D. J. Martins
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Amegilla bee on cucumber by D. J. Martins
Amegilla bee on cucumber by D. J. Martins

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