By Sarah Fiorello

Everyone has heard of the power of bees as pollinators, but did you know that many other species of animals pollinate plants as well? Flies, beetles, moths, butterflies, bats, birds, wasps, and more are pollinators too! These organisms move from flower to flower in search of nectar, and in the process transfer the pollen necessary for plants to form seeds.

The Flying Pollinators

Butterflies are a beautiful addition to any garden, and they work hard as pollinators! There are 750 species of butterflies across the United States, including the endangered Monarch butterfly, which only feeds on the milkweed plant. Some of the lesser-known flying pollinators include hoverflies, moths, birds, and wasps.

Come visit the Buzzline while it’s blooming and see how many flying pollinators you can count!

Not all Pollinators Fly

Beetles were among the first ever pollinators and often crawl from plant to plant to pollinate flowers. Ants too are wingless flower visitors. Though they’re not the most effective pollinators, several species of flowers nonetheless benefit from ants spreading their pollen. Even flying insects often prefer crawling, so we’ve planted flowers close together in our Buzzline to make the flowers more enticing for all.

Solitary Living

Everyone is familiar with how important social honey and bumblebees are, but did you know that more than 80% of bee species are not social but solitary? Solitary bees do not live in colonies, produce honey, or have a queen. Instead, they live in small burrows and spend their lives harvesting pollen as food for their young. Solitary bees are incredible pollinators, often equaling tens of honeybees in terms of the pollination that they provide. This extreme difference is due, in part, to the lack of pollen baskets on most solitary bees, which means that far more pollen falls off them as they buzz between flowers.

More About the Buzzline

Useful Websites

Sources and links for further exploration.

How We’re Helping

Pollinators are in peril. We teamed up with staff at Cornell Botanic Gardens and researchers […]

Botanic Buzzline

This pollinator pathway was developed by four Cornell undergraduates to address pollinator decline in the Ithaca community.