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

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.

News

Conservation survey finds native NYS pollinators at risk

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
Bee on a flower

News

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

Field Note

Multimedia

Mark Buckner is a Ph.D. student working closely with Bryan Danforth, professor of entomology, to grow the public’s understanding of pollinators beyond managed honeybees — most notably on the lesser-known mason bees. This month, Danforth and...
  • Department of Entomology
  • Agriculture
  • Animals
Bees on a flower

News

The study, published July 20 in Nature Ecology and Evolution, also found that one in eight individual bees had at least one parasite. The study was conducted in field sites in upstate New York, where the researchers screened 2,624 flowers from...
  • Entomology
  • Pollinators
  • Environment
A bee on a yellow flower

News

In the paper, “Landscape Simplification Shapes Pathogen Prevalence in Plant-Pollinator Networks,” published April 28 in the journal Ecology Letters, Cornell researchers gathered data on the entire bee community and the plant species visited on...
  • Animals
  • Entomology
  • Pollinators