Principal Investigators

Dr. Walter (Steve) Sheppard

Honey bee genetics and evolution, honey bee breeding colony health research, gene diversity, and honey bee germplasm acquisition.
More about Dr. Sheppard

Dr. Brandon Hopkins

Honey bee reproductive biology, germplasm collection and cryopreservation, research apiary and diagnostic laboratory oversight, field research.
Hopkins Lab

Dr. Nick Naeger

Nick is a molecular biologist who has been studying bees for over two decades. His research focuses on understanding the effect of pathogens on bee health and finding innovative ways to help bees fight these diseases. This includes investigating how viruses interact with diet and nutrition to impact the immune system of bees and their overall health. His research group is working to develop fungal-based nutritional supplements for bees and fungal biocontrol agents against Varroa mites.

Dr. Jennifer Han

Microbial biopesticides are safer alternatives to chemical pesticides. However, they are susceptible to a variety of environmental factors that limit their use including temperature, humidity, and UV. Jennifer’s research is focused on developing fungal biopesticides, specifically breeding a fungal biocontrol agent against the Varroa mite and exploring fungal and botanical based solutions to honey bee nutrition and overall health.
More about Dr. Han

Faculty & Staff

CAHNRS Bee Tour and Dan Bernardo Bee Beard

Susan Cobey

Sue is world renowned for her expertise on honey bee reproductive biology and instrumental insemination. She has trained honey bee researchers and queen breeders from all over the globe in cutting edge reproductive techniques and is part of the WSU germplasm collection and honey bee breeding effort.

Westley Hester

Westley is the apiary manger for the Honey Bee & Pollinator Research, Extension and Education Facility in Othello, WA. Born and raised in Athens, Georgia, Westley graduated from UGA with a BS in forestry and natural resources. He has a background in construction, silviculture, nursery managment, forest hydrology, general horticulture, field ecology, and apiculture. 

Postdoctoral Research Faculty

Dr. Rae Olsson (they/them/theirs)

Rae has their B.A. and B.Sc. from Evergreen State College and received their PhD in Entomology from WSU in 2020 studying plant-pollinator communities and interactions.  They are currently working on generating tools for beekeepers to monitor colony health and predicting colony success in a variety of landscapes and floral resource areas.

Twitter: @RLOlsson

Dr. Kelly Kulhanek (she/her/hers)

Kelly completed her doctorate in the vanEngelsdorp Bee lab at University of Maryland. She is testing commercial beekeeping practices and new forms of varroa management and feeding.  Her research is informed directly by beekeeper needs in hope she can alleviate some of the challenges bees and beekeepers face.

Dr. Ge Zhang

Ge has been beekeeping and studying bees for the past ten years. He received his Phd from Iowa State University and completed his first post-doc project at New Mexico State University.  He is now studying how honey bee health is affected when they are moved from California to Washington State for pollinating specialty crops such as almond, blueberry, apple and canola.

Graduate Students

Kiersten Ritchie

Kiersten is a PhD student working with Dr. Steve Sheppard. She is studying sperm storage and utilization by honey bee queens from the same or different subspecies of bees.

Riley Reed

Riley caught his first swarm during his junior year of high school and was immediately hooked. He completed his B.Sc. from WSU while working as a technical assistant in the honey bee program. He is pursuing a PhD under the direction of Dr. Brandon Hopkins.  His research interests include Varroa and beekeeping management and improving pollinator forage.

Adam Ware

Adam spent several years working as a commercial beekeeper before joining the graduate program at WSU. His research interests pertain to sustainable and integrative methods in agricultural management with emphasis in queen breeding and honey bee health. He is currently a master’s student working with Dr. Naeger and Dr. Sheppard.

Dan Reynolds

Dan’s interest in honey bees began as a lab and program manager for the Bee Informed Partnership in Maryland. He began his career at WSU as the Pullman bee program manager in 2020 and has since transitioned to be a master’s student under the direction of Dr. Naeger and Dr. Sheppard.

Sam Dilday

Sam’s fascination with honey bees began in 2016 while volunteering at her local nature center where an indoor observation hive sparked her interest in these tiny wonders. Graduating from George Mason University with a B.Sc. in Biology, she went on to travel to Newfoundland, Canada. There she studied the isolated, Varroa free honey bee populations of the Island and earned her M.Sc. in Environmental Sciences. She is pursuing her PhD under the direction of Dr. Brandon Hopkins.

Undergraduate Students

Molly Quade

Molly is studying Agriculture Education at Washington State University. She works with the WSU honey bee program assisting with research projects and general colony maintenance.  Molly loves working with natural resources and hopes to teach at a high school after graduating from WSU.

Sam Weiland

Sam Weiland is studying Plant Biology at WSU and wishes to pursue a career in mycology. He is involved in research on honeybee interaction with specialized crops and loves working hands-on with the bees. 

Erik Nelson

Erik is a biology major at WSU

Megan Pyle

Megan will be start her freshmen year at WSU this fall of 2022. She will be pursuing a Fruit & Vegetable Management degree.

Jose Perez-Olmos

Jose is studying Viticulture and Enology  at WSU