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

Paper wasps creating a hive


New research indicates facial recognition abilities in paper wasps evolved relatively rapidly, suggesting that their increasing intelligence provided an incredible evolutionary advantage. This new research also sheds light on how intelligence evolves in general, which has implications for many other species – including humans.
  • Neurobiology and Behavior
  • Evolution
  • Entomology
A collage of different kinds of wild bees.


A museum exhibit – created in collaboration with Cornell experts, illustrators and students – seeks to shine a light on the vast diversity of wild bees through breathtaking photos, unusual specimens, video footage and extremely rare bee fossils...
  • Department of Entomology
  • Animals
  • Pollinators
A male and female student look on as a male student sticks a sign into the ground in the middle of a grassy, green garden


The Botanic Buzzline provides pollinators – especially those that can travel only very short distances between stops for nectar – with a continuous patch of uninterrupted flowers. It connects the Tower Road area near the Cornell Dairy Bar to the...
  • Cornell Botanic Gardens
  • Pollinators
  • Environment
Close up image of a bee


A new study rewrites a commonly cited theory about bee evolution and the cause behind an explosion in diversity of bee species some 120 million years ago.
  • Pollinators