Tech Transfer Teams

Our Tech Teams Rock! Highly trained to evaluate, sample, and inspect honey bee colonies, our Tech Transfer Teams interact with important stakeholder groups including commercial queen breeders, large honey producers, and commercial operations specializing in pollination services for our food system. 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. Together, beekeepers and Tech Transfer Teams interpret real world disease levels to make informed decisions about future treatments and hive management decisions.


Florida-Georgia Team

Teigen pic 2Liana Teigen, University of Florida Honey Bee Research an Extension Lab, Crop Protection Agent

I am part of the Florida/Georgia tech-transfer team and will be working with migratory beekeepers. The team is based out of the University of Florida’s Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab of which I have been a part for the last two years working primarily on native bees as crop pollinators. In 2010 I received a BA in English from the University of Florida and the same year began working for a migratory beekeeper in Florida with a honey production operation where I learned everything I could about bees and beekeeping. Since then I’ve worked for other Florida beekeepers in addition to UF’s honey bee lab and am excited to keep learning.

Northern California Team

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.


Ben Sallmann pictureBen SallmannUniversity of California Cooperative Extension, Crop Protection Agent

As part of the Northern California Tech Transfer Team, I work closely with beekeepers and breeders in the region and assist with inspection, sampling for Varroa and Nosema, and testing for hygienic behavior. My interest in bees began as a child 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 joined BIP in the summer of 2013 in order to be more involved with hands on research that benefits beekeepers in a tangible way, and am currently based out of the University of California Cooperative Extension office in Butte County, CA. 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 taught business English in Japan, Italy, and Guatemala.

Midwest Team

Katie-Lee-Bee-Beard-2012-2Katie LeeUniversity of Minnesota, Crop Protection Agent

I work as a part of the Midwest Tech Team, based at the University of Minnesota. The Midwest Tech Team works with commercial, migratory beekeepers in North Dakota and Minnesota. We monitor colony health, pests and diseases, and test for hygienic behavior on breeder colonies. I got into honey bees after taking a social insect class with Dr. Marla Spivak. Marla asked me to work in the U of MN Bee Lab over the summer, and I loved it. I couldn’t get enough ofbees and beekeeping after that. I went on to get a MS in Entomology and developed a sampling plan for the Varroa mite, I traveled to New Zealand and worked with bees there, and I began the Northern CA Tech Team. I am currently working on my PhD. Read my blog here.

Megan Wannarka, University of Minnesota, Senior Laboratory Technician

As of May I am working with Marla Spivak and Katie Lee at the University of Minnesota Midwest Tech Team to assist commercial beekeepers with monitoring colony health through sampling and testing. Previous to working with Bee Informed Partnership I served with Peace Corps Response on the island of Grenada in the Eastern Caribbean as a Beekeeping trainer, working with local beekeepers to gather best practices, disseminate information and work one on one in their apiaries. I graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2006 with a B.S. in Design. Curiosity about bees and an interest in Peace Corps allowed me to apprentice and then work with a well-known local beekeeper in Minnesota. I gained technical honey and beekeeping knowledge and enjoyed working with Italian, Carneolian and Russian bees. While serving in Senegal, West Africa with Peace Corps as a Sustainable Agriculture Agent I was able to work with African bees as well. I am looking forward to the understanding challenges that commercial beekeepers and industry face and excited about the collaboration of the highly cross functional teams.

Texas Team
Meghan Mahoney

Megan Mahoney, University of Minnesota, Crop Protection Agent

I fell in love with bees over 10 years ago the first time I looked inside of a hive and have been working with bees ever since!  I had the good fortune to be introduced to bees and the bee industry through the University of Minnesota and Marla Spivak’s lab, and went on to run a small bee business in Albuquerque NM.  About 4 years ago, I decided I wanted a more commercial experience and a better understanding of the industry, so I went to California Central Valley where I have been commercially raising queens in the springtime.  I work for the Midwest Tech-Transfer team and am loving the opportunity to meet beekeepers and their bees all around the country.

Pacific Northwest Team

Ellen TopitzhoferOregon State University, Crop Protection Agent

I am part of the Pacific Northwest Tech Transfer Team, which operates out of Oregon State University, in Corvallis, Oregon. I work with migratory beekeepers in Oregon, Idaho and Washington. Out west, colonies primarily pollinate fruit, nut, oil seed, and vegetable seed crops for the majority of the year. I work with beekeepers to monitor colony health and gather pesticide exposure information from these diverse cropping systems. I received my BS from the University of Minnesota, and recently, my MS from Oregon State University, where I studied honey bee nutrition. I am also a volunteer mentor for the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program and I enjoy teaching others about the joy of beekeeping.

Dan WynsOregon State University, Crop Protection Agent

I am a member of the Pacific Northwest Tech Transfer Team working with commercial beekeepers from OR, WA and ID. After attending the University of Michigan, where I received a BS in Natural Resource Management I travelled to New Zealand for a working holiday. Shortly after arrival I met a beekeeper and began helping him move colonies for pollination. The bees immediately captivated me and my working holiday evolved into 7 years as a commercial beekeeper and apiary inspector, where I managed colonies for kiwifruit and avocado pollination, manuka honey production and queen rearing. I have also worked for a migratory operation in Canada, pollinating berries in lower mainland British Columbia and producing honey in Peace River, Alberta. I feel fortunate to work with bees and look forward to helping the bees and beekeepers of the Pacific Northwest through the Bee Informed Partnership.