Project Directors

We have combined an interdisciplinary and diverse group of accomplished professionals from numerous universities and research labs around the country that lead the efforts of the project. These project directors form a team that includes research scientists, extension specialists, industry experts, epidemiologists, economists, and database and web-tool designers.


Kathy Baylis, University of Illinois, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Economics, Heading Economics Portion of Program

“Bee Informed will open up the door to pest control methods for beekeepers. It will share information on what beekeepers in various regions are doing to control pests, and how well those controls are working. It will also let beekeepers compare the costs and benefits of alternative methods of pest control to decide what would work best for them.”


Joseph H. Connell, University of California Cooperative Extension, Provides oversight, local support, and office space to house Bee Informed Personnel in Butte County, California

Joseph Connell is Farm Advisor and County Director of the University of California Cooperative Extension office in Butte County. He specializes in almonds, olives, citrus, sub-tropicals, and ornamental landscape plants. He received his B.S. in Plant Science from the University of California, Davis and his M.S. in Horticulture with a specialization in pomology also from UCD.

Connell hosted a pilot Honeybee Tech Transfer Team in the Butte County UCCE office funded by the Almond Board of California beginning in 2010.  This team was converted to BIP in 2011 with the nationwide effort to “Help facilitate beekeepers and bee breeders success in producing strong colonies for pollination of almonds in California and other crops in the United States by keeping them informed about best management practices for honeybees.”


Keith S. Delaplane, University of Georgia, External Adviser and Liaison with the Managed Pollinator CAP

Keith S. Delaplane is a professor at the University of Georgia. He heads the honey bee program a UGA. The program strives to teach undergraduate and graduate students in practical beekeeping and bee biology. Delaplane received his B.S in animal science from Purdue University, his M.S. in entomology from Louisiana State University and his Ph.D. in entomology also from LSU. He has a family history of beekeeping; his grandfather was a beekeeper in Indiana during the early 20th century. Delaplane received his first hive at 13, and his love for bees has continued to this day.

Delaplane joined BIP in 2011 because ”I believe this project has huge potential for delivery – both to scientists who need hard data to inform research and policy and to beekeepers who need hard data for making smart management decisions.”


Susan Donohue, University of California Cooperative Extension, County Director; Oversight of Project in Butte and Surrounding Counties

Susan Donohue is the Coordinator of the Statewide Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and Nutrition Advisor with University of California Cooperative Extension headquartered in Butte County. She specializes in nutrition, family & consumer sciences, and food safety. She received her M.A. in family studies from Michigan State University.

She joined BIP in 2010 to help with organizing the Bee Team on the West Coast. “I’ve learned a lot about the importance of bees and issues facing the bee industry.”


Wayne Esaias, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Collaborator, honeybeenet.gsfc.nasa.gov
Wayne Esaias has been a biological oceanographer with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center since 1984. For over two decades, he has tracked plant growth in the world’s oceans, and in 1994 he became the leader of the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer Instrument (MODIS) Ocean Science Team. More recently, he has helped assess instruments due to fly on the National Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellite Series, which is the next generation of low-Earth orbiting environmental satellites. Currently his holds an Adjunct Professorship in the U. MD. Entomology Department, where he continues to use satellite imagery and Hive Scale data to assess changes in Honey Bee Nectar Flows across North America.  He is a Master Beekeeper (Eastern Apiculture Society) and an the current president of the Maryland State Beekeepers Association.  He received his B.A. is biological sciences from The Johns Hopkins University, and his M.S. and Ph.D degrees in Biological Oceanography from Oregon State University.

He joined BIP in 2010 because “The national focus provided by the BIP surveys and partnership with US beekeepers provides a good background to study the large scale changes in bee forage and its potential impact on honey bee health.”



Eugene J. Lengerich, Penn State University, Department of Public Health Sciences, Epidemiologist and Community-Based Researcher.

Eugene J. Lengerich is a professor of Public Health Sciences at Penn State University. He usually focuses on human diseases, but is excited to be involved with a project that deals with our food supply, and could have important implications for human nutrition.  Dr. Lengerich is a veterinary epidemiologist who uses participatory, data-based approaches to develop, test, and disseminate evidence-based strategies for the clinic and public health. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Department of Agriculture, Health Resources and Service Administration, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as well as professional and non-profit organizations.

Lengerich joined BIP in 2011 because “discovering what is a affecting bee health is a complex and incredibly important scientific question that needs to be answered.  Besides that, beekeepers and the BIP team are just great people!”



pettisJeff Pettis, USDA/ARS, Beltsville, MD, Industry Expert, Area Wide Project Liaison, and Adviser

“The reason I am excited about this project is that it really does provide an opportunity to get real results back to beekeepers in a realistic time frame.”


Robyn Rose, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), National Program Manager for Honey Bee Health.

“The USDA APHIS is collaborating with the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Pennsylvania State University on a national survey of honey bee pests and diseases. Data collected from this survey will contribute to the Bee Informed Partnership database in order to give geo temporal reference to beekeepers tested or self derived disease load information. “


John Skinner, University of Tennessee, Coordination with eXtension.org

“What is your favorite honey variety?”
Although I don’t have a “favorite honey variety” I enjoy blackberry, tulip poplar, basswood, black locust and a blend of sourwood and sumac.
“Who is the most unusual Bee Informed Partnership team member?”
Easily the most unusual Bee Informed Partnership member is Dennis. Why? Well, He asks the strangest questions, expects an answer in two nanoseconds, will not eat in the late evenings – even if starving, smiles and laughs even when in pain and most fun of all, you just never know what he is really thinking…



Marla SpivakMarla Spivak, University of Minnesota, Tier 5 Bee Breeding Component

“My main role is to assist with disease and management monitoring of bee breeding operations in northern California (Tier 5 sampling). I have a long-term interest in helping bee breeders enhance their tried-and-true stocks of bees through selection for traits that increase resistance to bee diseases and parasitic mites. My goals are to encourage the production of stocks of bees in the U.S. that can defend themselves against diseases and parasites, while maintaining genetic diversity and reducing the use of chemical treatments in bee colonies. The Bee Informed project provides an amazing platform to work with bee breeders and to document change. “
“What will Bee Informed do for the beekeeping community?”
“Bee Informed will provide beekeepers with real, on-the-ground information about what works to keep bees alive and healthy and what does not work, region by region, sorted by size and scope of beekeeping operation. This project has the potential to revolutionize bee management by providing beekeepers easy access to trustworthy data.”



David R. Tarpy, North Carolina State University, Lead Molecular Analysis effort

“Bee Informed is going to be an excellent conduit of information for beekeepers to tap into so that they can better gauge the ever-changing landscape of modern apiculture.”
“What was your first reaction to Been Informed?”
‘Bout time!
“What is your favorite honey variety?”
Orange blossom, although being in NC I should say sourwood!



Dennis photoDennis vanEngelsdorp, University of Maryland, Project Director

“The Bee Informed Partnership wasn’t really any one person’s idea. It was an idea that beekeepers, many beekeepers, had. As I traveled across the country sampling bees to try to find out what was killing them, beekeepers everywhere said that what they needed was a way to find out what other beekeepers did and which of those things worked. At first I didn’t think it was possible to put such a program together, but after taking a course in Epidemiology it became clear that there was a way – and in essence that’s how this whole thing got started.”



James T. Wilkes, Appalachian State University, Department of Computer Science, Information Technology Lead of Project

“How long have you been keeping bees?”
“I’ve been around bees my whole life. My father kept several stands in our backyard after purchasing his first package through mail order from Sears in 1964, the year before I was born. I started my own beekeeping in the year 2000 with three hives and now keep about fifty hives.”