Wild bees and their world.

Our lab focuses on the biology and evolution of wild, solitary bees. We use phylogenomics to reconstruct evolutionary relationships, employ collections-based data to document local and global patterns of biodiversity, use metagenomics to characterize the microbial ecology of the bee brood cell, and seek to understand the role that wild bees play in crop pollination.

Areas of Interest


We are actively researching bee and wasp phylogenetic relationships through the use of high throughput DNA sequencing.


Bee Diversity

We are currently involved in a three-year exhaustive survey of the bees of New York State. This project is part of the larger National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators [pdf].

Microbial Ecology

We are exploring the diversity of microbes associated with solitary bee brood cells through high-throughput DNA sequencing.

Pollination Biology

We are documenting the important role of wild, native bees in agricultural pollination.

Bryan Danforth

Principal Investigator

Bryan N. Danforth

Department of Entomology
Cornell University

Recent Publications

On the universality of target‐enrichment baits for phylogenomic research

Bossert, S. & B.N. Danforth (2018). On the universality of target‐enrichment baits for phylogenomic research. Methods in Ecology and...

The impact of GC bias on phylogenetic accuracy

Bossert, S., E.A. Murray, B.B. Blaimer, & B.N. Danforth (2017). The impact of GC bias on phylogenetic accuracy using targeted enrichment phylogenomic data.

Branstetter et al. (2017)

Branstetter, M.G., B.N. Danforth, J.P. Pitts, B.C. Faircloth, P.S. Ward, M.L. Buffington, M.W. Gates, R.R. Kula. & S.G. Brady (2017). Phylogenomics and improved taxon sampling resolve relationships among ants, bees, and stinging wasps.

Grab et al. (2017)

Grab, H., E.J. Blitzer, B.N. Danforth, G. Loeb, & K. Poveda (2017). Temporally mediated Good timing makes good neighbors: pollinator competition and...

Blitzer et al. (2016)

Blitzer, E.J., J. Gibbs, M.G. Park, B.N. Danforth (2016). Pollination services for apple depend on functionally diverse wild bee communities.

Lab News

The interaction between mass flowering in apples and fruit set in strawberries

Cornell Chronicle, 30 March, 2017. Article on Heather Grab’s work on the implication of co-flowering in strawberry and apple on wild bee abundance and seed set.

Rusty patched bumblebee listed as an endangered species

Responding to a petition from the Xerces Society, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will list the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.

Leap of faith proves pollination can be honeybee free

Cornell Chronicle, 3 June, 2015. Article on Cornell Orchards increased reliance on wild bees for apple pollinatin.

Betting on nature to solve the bee crisis

Bloomberg Businessweek report on how apple growers are increasingly relying on wild bees for apple pollination.

Impacts of fungicides on wild bees in apple orchards

The Guardian, 18 June, 2015. Article on Mia Park’s work on apple bees.

The Bee Course 2019

August 18-28, 2019

The Bee Course is a nine day intensive workshop offered for conservation biologists, pollination ecologists, and other biologists who want to gain greater knowledge of the systematics and biology of bees. Details of the course are provided on the Bee Course website.

NYS Bee Diversity Survey

New York Natural Heritage Program

Our lab is involved in a state-wide survey of bees and other pollinators as part of an effort led by the NY Natural Heritage Program to develop an “Empire State Native Pollinator Survey”. The goal of the Empire State Native Pollinator Survey is to determine the conservation status of a wide array of native insect pollinators in non-agricultural habitats, including bees.