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

Senior Lecturer Heather Grab interacts with bees in the lab in Comstock Hall.


Wild bumblebee queens lured and killed in commercial hives

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
Cornell University Insect Collection samples of the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis), which in 2017 was named an endangered species and is believed no longer present in New York.


A New York state survey, supported by Cornell bee experts, finds that more than half of important native pollinators may be at risk of disappearing from the state – potentially threatening crops, wildflowers and insect diversity.

  • Department of Entomology
  • Entomology
  • Pollinators
A queen butterfly caterpillar eats from the stem of a milkweed plant.


Researchers have identified a species of milkweed that holds promise for planting on roadsides to improve conservation habitat for migrating monarch butterflies.
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Entomology
  • Pollinators
A spotted lanternfly in its fourth stage on a tree


Thanks to grant funding from the USDA, the New York State Integrated Pest Management program is developing new virtual courses to help schools implement plans to manage pests such as rodents, head lice, bed bugs or yellow jackets.
  • Cornell AgriTech
  • New York State Integrated Pest Management
  • Agriculture
Bee on a flower


The project allows the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability to devise a new method of tracking the health of the all-important arthropod populations that are a part of pollinating one out of every three...
  • Cornell Atkinson
  • Lab of Ornithology
  • Natural Resources and the Environment