Tech Transfer Teams

We’re not just about the numbers. The heart and soul of the Bee Informed Partnership lies in the people that make up our team. Tech Transfer Teams are trained field agents who offer regular on-site hive inspections and sampling for large commercial beekeepers and queen breeders. The data they collect help provide large-scale beekeepers with the knowledge to make management decisions to maintain healthy colonies. Our teams conduct and demonstrate the importance of monitoring disease and parasite management while working with beekeepers in the field to collect samples, offer support, and analyze results. Additional services including conducting longitudinal sampling on new feed or treatment options desired by the operation. Together, beekeepers and Tech Transfer Teams interpret real world disease levels to make informed decisions about future treatments and colony management decisions.

If there’s a problem, Tech Team members continue the process on-site by analyzing lab reports and working with the beekeeper to find the best options moving forward. We’re creating a real time feedback loop so beekeepers have the most up to date information to make timely management decisions in their operations.

Tech Transfer Team Coordinator

Anne Marie FauvelUniversity of Maryland

I am fascinated by honey bees and the people who care for them. Even though I am a late comer to beekeeping, my background laid a strong foundation. I studied Biology as an undergrad and Wildlife Management in graduate school. I spent the last 15 years studying and teaching about human’s relationship with Nature in the form of environmental studies courses, principally regarding food systems.

Agricultural studies naturally led to discovering my passion for honey bees 10 years ago. I have since focused all my energy on catching up with the industry! My research interests focused on honey bees and more specifically on developing better tools to study them. I worked on a few projects like the Hive Scale Monitoring Portal and the more recent PollenCheck mobile application in collaboration with BIP. I am really excited for the opportunity to work closely with the BIP team, facilitating collaboration between commercial beekeepers, our highly specialized Tech Team Agents in the field and the various research institutions.

Northern California Team

Matt Hoepfinger, University of California, Davis, Crop Protection Agent

After receiving a Master’s degree in computer science from Michigan State, I moved to Golden, Colorado where I worked in the telecom industry as a software engineer for 25 years.  I started keeping bees at the hobby level in 2011, which quickly became my passion (some have called it my obsession). I serve as director of Mountain High Beekeepers Cooperative and after playing an essential role in founding the Colorado Professional Beekeepers Association, I continue to provide support for the group.

I joined the Tech Transfer Team in California in 2019 where I work closely with commercial beekeepers in the region to assist with colony assessments, disease monitoring, hygienic testing and sampling for Varroa, Nosema, pesticides, and viruses.  I then use the information collected to work alongside beekeepers by acting as an interpreter of colony data to improve survivorship. I am excited to expand my knowledge in evidence based beekeeping practices and grow my understanding of honey bee health.

Robert_Snyder2Robert SnyderUniversity of California Cooperative Extension, Crop Protection Agent

I currently work out of the Butte County Cooperative Extension in Oroville, CA as a Crop Protection Agent. I received my B.S. in biology from Delaware Valley College, PA. There I attained a majority of my entomological knowledge from Dr. Chris Tipping and Dr. Robert Berthold. After graduation, I was an apiary inspector for 2 years at the Department of Agriculture in Pennsylvania. In my third year there, I still inspected some colonies but I mainly focused on The Pennsylvania Native Bee Survey (PANBS) where I pinned, labeled, entered data and identified native bees to genus species. Leo Donavall assisted me in learning the basics on positive Identifications of the native bees. Around the same time I began working on coordinating kit construction and distribution for the APHIS National Honey Bee Survey. I was also fortunate to conduct many of these surveys with fellow co-worker Mike Andree and Nathan Rice of USDA/ARS throughout California. All of these experiences have led me to where I am today, working to assist beekeepers in maintaining genetic diverse colonies resistant to parasites while reducing the use of chemical treatments in colonies. The BIP Diagnostic Lab at the University of MD is in an integral part of this process by generating reports in which we can track change and report to beekeepers vital information in a timely manner which may influence their treatment decisions.

Midwest Team

Nelson WilliamsUniversity of Minnesota, Crop Protection Agent

My passion for honey bees and beekeeping has been growing since 2006. I initially waded into beekeeping at the hobbyist level lending a helping hand to my close friend’s backyard operation. My interest grew exponentially with each trip into the apiary, eventually acquiring my own colonies. In 2017, a professional opportunity to conduct honey bee health research presented itself at Purina Farms in Gray Summit, MO. The research led to the development of a protein supplement for commercial beekeepers to support larval development and maintain colony health during transport and/or dormant blooming seasons.

I look forward to completing my degree in Integrative Studies focusing on Environmental Science and Business Management from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in December of 2019. I am truly exciting to join the Bee Informed Partnership to help provide commercial beekeepers with the data and information they seek in order to make best-practice yard management decisions, and implement solutions for sustainable and healthy beekeeping operations.

Michigan Team

Dan WynsMichigan State University, Crop Protection Agent

I was introduced to honey bees over a decade ago while in New Zealand on a working holiday and have been consumed with caring for and learning about them ever since. Prior to joining BIP I was a commercial beekeeper in New Zealand and western Canada where I was fortunate to gain a diversity of beekeeping experience across a variety of climates and agricultural landscapes. I joined BIP in 2014 as a member of the PNW tech transfer team and spent 3 years working with beekeepers across OR, WA and ID. The addition of a Tech Transfer position in Michigan has allowed me to carry on working with bees and beekeepers while relocating to my home state.  I was born in Grand Rapids, raised in Grand Haven, and studied in Ann Arbor so the opportunity serve the beekeeping community here is especially satisfying. My family roots run deep in Michigan horticulture and I look forward to continuing that tradition by working to promote colony health and support local agriculture.

Pacific Northwest Team

Ben Sallmann pictureBen Sallmann, Oregon State University, Crop Protection Agent

As a member of the Pacific Northwest Tech Team, I work with migratory beekeepers from around the region and help monitor pest loads and colony health. Most of my experience with commercial beekeeping comes from my time as a Northern California Tech Team member, where I worked closely with queen breeders by helping select stock and test for hygienic behavior.

My interest in bees began much earlier working on our family’s apiary/organic vegetable farm in Wisconsin, and became further immersed while recently caretaking the farm for a couple years and managing the hives. I graduated from Ripon College in Ripon, WI in 2004 with a B.A. In Anthropology and Global Studies, and in previous lives worked as a musician, Logistics Manager for the Naval Underwater Construction Team, and international English teacher.

Texas Team

Dan AurellTexas A&M University, Crop Protection Agent

My first real introduction to beekeeping was learning on the job on a bee farm in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, Canada; I’ve been hooked ever since. I have also had the chance to work a season for a large beekeeping operation in New Zealand, where one of the neat things we did was to ship package bees back to Canada. My work experience is mostly in production agriculture, and I have a B.S. in Biology from Acadia University. I grew up in Sweden and Atlantic Canada.

Since arriving in Texas it has been so interesting to meet commercial beekeepers that operate out of the state. It is such a treat to work in step with the seasons and in the middle of a dynamic environment. I am excited to be in a role where I can help bee farmers to respond in time to the challenges that come out of this changing environment.