Human aided squash pollination

Early on, my kabochas (and related squash, I always seem to have some other _weird_ looking squash in the patch), are loath to set because:
1. There aren't any male flowers (with pollen)
2. The bees haven't discovered the flowers yet
I almost always have about 10 days to 2 weeks of female flowers that preceed the males. If I see a male, I dab the stamin with a haiku brush and dab any female flowers I see. This results in setting. I generally do this for a few weeks until there are plenty of flowers, male and female, and bees to insure that pollination will occur naturally.
My questions are these:
1. How much pollen is necessary to get the females to set? Are a few grains (or even a single grain) sufficient? I ask this because the first male flowers often have few if any pollen grains on them, so there's not much to go around.
2. How long do the pollen grains stay viable? If I don't see another male flower for several days, are the grains still adhering to my haiku brush going to pollinate new female flowers effectively?
Dan
Email: dmusicant at pacbell dot net
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Dan Musicant wrote:

Technically only one as in cucurbits there is only one ovum per female inflorescence (this is not universal, corn for example has many per ear). It is a while since I studied this but IIRC there are several ways for the pollen to get waylaid between touching the stigma and reaching the ovum (like humans, girls don't have stigmas but you get the idea). Thus (like humans mutatis mutandis) chances are much improved by having more than one pollen grain get to the stigma.

I don't know for sure but I am guessing it varies with species but that it might be viable for several days.
David
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