Skip to main content
Honey bee and witch hazel. Photo by: J. Katz
Honey bee and witch hazel.
Photo by: J. Katz

The Pollinators

From the standpoint of pollination, there are efficient pollinators and those that are less effective. “Good” or “effective” pollinators are those that are abundant and have a high likelihood of transmitting pollen from flower to flower. Bees meet both of these criteria, making them probably the most important pollinators in urban as well as rural areas of eastern North America. First, they are highly abundant relative to other insect pollinators. Second, with the exception of small masked bees in the genus Hylaeus, most bees have numerous branched hairs on their bodies, increasing the likelihood of moving pollen from flower to flower. Third, bees intentionally seek nectar and pollen to feed themselves and their young, while other insects only visit flowers for nectar.

Other pollinators are also present in New York City’s urban landscapes and may be important, too, especially in early spring and late fall when bees are less active. These include flies, wasps, butterflies, beetles, various nocturnal pollinators, and the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. From a conservation perspective, the biodiversity of all pollinators is significant, even if some groups or species are less effective than others.

In this section, you’ll find lots of information about the most important pollinators in the metropolitan region.

The Bees of New York City

Learn about the diversity of bees recorded in the region, from the giant carpenter bee to brilliant green metallic bees. 

            Bee types

            Bee identification  

            Where they live       

            Who they live with

            Specialist bee plants

Other pollinators

Some of the other pollen movers that have been observed in New York City. Read more

Pollinator resources

Where to look for additional information