About us

Pollinators are incredibly important to the agricultural economy of New York and to the floral diversity of natural ecosystems. The Pollinator Network at Cornell is a multidisciplinary group of researchers, extension personnel and students that collectively work to understand wild and managed pollinators in New York, across the United States and around the world.

We are committed to promoting healthy pollinator populations and a sustainable beekeeping industry. Our research enables us to understand the biology and evolution of bees, investigate the role of pollinators in natural and agricultural systems, and identify the current factors threatening pollinator health. Our findings are communicated to growers, beekeepers, policymakers and the public through a variety of extension and outreach programs.

What is a Pollinator?

A pollinator is any animal that helps plants reproduce by transferring pollen from the male structures of one flower to the female structures of the same or another flower. Pollinators perform a vital service, enabling reproduction in over 85% of the world’s plants. While some bird and bat species are pollinators, most pollination relies on insects. Insect pollinators include bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, beetles, and flies. Bees are the most important group of pollinators because they deliberately gather pollen from many flowers of the same species to provision their offspring. This makes bees effective and efficient pollinators.

People in beekeeping gear inspect frames from a hive.
A bee pollinates a flower.

Pollinator research news

Local beekeepers and researchers examine an open log with a Melipona favosa nest during a workshop

News

Beekeeping, hydropower: Cornell Atkinson awards nearly $1M in grants

Cornell Atkinson’s annual Academic Venture Fund will provide nearly $1 million in seed funding to support research teams across five colleges and 11 departments, many with key external partnerships.

  • Cornell Atkinson
  • Animal Science
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Researcher Heather Grab holds an excluder next to a commercial bumblebee nest box

News

A Cornell study that revealed commercial eastern common bumblebee hives pose a threat to their wild counterparts has led one major pollination company to quickly adapt the bumblebee hive boxes they ship to growers.

  • Department of Entomology
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Pollinators
Shayla Salzman examing Zamia furfuracea ovulate cones

News

Humidity is as important as scent in attracting pollinators to a plant, new Cornell-led research finds, advancing basic biology and opening new avenues to support agriculture.

  • Neurobiology and Behavior
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Plant Biology Section
man working in a green house

Field Note

As an undergraduate entomology major, Will Kandalaft ’21 worked as a research assistant in the lab of Robert Raguso , professor of neurobiology and behavior. Raguso helped revolutionize his field by emphasizing and categorizing the role of scent...
  • Entomology
  • Pollinators
  • Biology
Senior Lecturer Heather Grab interacts with bees in the lab in Comstock Hall.

News

A new study finds that nest boxes of commercial eastern common bumblebees (Bombus impatiens) lead to the deaths of wild queens who are attracted to the brightly colored hives.

  • Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station
  • Department of Entomology
  • School of Integrative Plant Science