Pollinator Summit is coming. Bee aware. FREE EVENT! Donations Accepted!

Pollinator Summit – Food for Bees, and Food for You and Me

  • Monday & Tuesday March 4-5, 2024
  • Location: Latah County Fairgrounds – large room
  • Tuesday Movie Night: The Pollinators. Location: UI Potato Seed Lab Conference Room

This year we will focus on bees, nutrition and the environment. Monday will be devoted to honey bees, the tiny hard working creatures supporting so much agriculture and our own food supply. Tuesday will be focused on native bees, their role in agriculture, and their food supplies. The event will include a Pollinator Expo on Tuesday of local organizations working to support pollinators.

Free Registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pollinator-summit-tickets-821771559857

Attendance available in 3 formats:

  1. In person
  2. Remotely by Zoom (link will be sent after you register, a couple of days before event,)
  3. Watching a video posted some time after the event on Rural Roots website.

March 4, 2024 Latah County Fairgrounds Main Room

Monday Speaker and Title:

10:00 AM Opening Remarks: Iris Mayes & Suvia Judd (in-person)
10:30 AM Steve Sheppard WSU (in person) Title: WSU Research on Honey Bee Genetics, Breeding and Colony Health
11:30 PM JT Vanleuvan UI (in person) Title: Bacteriophages of the honey bee gut microbiome
12:30 PM Lunch Break
1:30 PM Gabriela Quinlan Penn State (Zoom) Title: Honey bee colonies as a sentinel of landscape-level nectar resources (use of hive scales)
2:30 PM Jacqueline Freeman author (Zoom) Title: Falling in Love with Honey Bees

March 5, 2024 Latah County Fairgrounds Main Room

10:00 AM Armando Falcon-Brindis UI (in-person) Title: Pollination Ecology and Interaction Networks of Wild Bees
11:00 AM Anthony Vaudo USFS (in-person) Title: Bee Nutrition in the Landscape

11:00:00 AM - 1:00PM Pollinator Expo 11am - 1pm Local non-profits and businesses share info on Pollinators

Kelli Cooper City of Moscow (in person) Title: Using iNatiuralist to Track and ID Bees
12:00 PM Lunch Break
1:00 PM Margarita Lopez-Uribe Penn State (Zoom) Title: Native Squash Bee Range and Evolution
2:00 PM Karen Wright WSDA (Zoom) Title: The Washington Bee Atlas
3:00 PM Steve Cook UI (in person) Title: Identifying Pollinators and the Impact of Soil Amendment Treatments on Huckleberry

6:00 PM Doors Open
7:00 PM The Pollinators
Film at the UI Potato Seed Lab 753 Perimeter Drive Moscow, ID

This event is a collaboration between Rural Roots, PCEI, and UI Extension, Latah County. For more information latah@uidaho.edu

Speaker Abstracts & Bios
Steve Sheppard, PhD – WSU Research on Honey Bee Genetics, Breeding and Colony Health

Abstract: Honey bees are native to the Old World (Europe, Africa, Asia) where they exist as a diverse group of over 24 subspecies across a large geographic range. In an initial effort to prevent the introduction of the parasitic tracheal mite, additional importations of honey bees have been restricted since 1922. Around 2008, the bee program at WSU developed cryogenic methods for honey bee semen storage suitable for use in instrumental insemination and honey bee breeding. Following that discovery, WSU established a cryogenic facility for the storage of honey bee germplasm, collected germplasm from a number of Old World honey bee source populations and initiated and maintained a bee breeding program providing novel genetic material to US honey bee queen producers. Most recently, WSU has been involved in the reintroduction of a cold-adapted honey bee from the Caucasus Mountains and the introduction of a honey bee subspecies that co-evolved with apples in central Asia. This presentation will cover these WSU honey bee breeding and germplasm conservation efforts and recent progress to develop fungal-based products to address honey bee colony health. These latter products include a selected strain of Metaryzium fungus that serves as a biocontrol for parasitic Varroa mites and a mixture of polypore fungal extracts that is being developed in collaboration with Fungi Perfecti as a feeding additive.

Biography: Dr. Steve Sheppard is the Thurber Professor of Apiculture in the Department of Entomology at Washington State University. His graduate research at the University of Illinois centred on population genetics and evolution in honey
bees. Prior to joining the faculty at WSU, Steve worked as a research scientist for the US Department of Agriculture, conducting research on Africanized honey bees and the genetic processes that accompany insect range expansions. In collaboration with mycologist Paul Stamets and Fungi Perfecti, the WSU Bee Program is involved in a major research effort to use fungi as a biological control agent for parasitic mites and to use polypore mushroom extracts to improve the health of honey bees.

JT Vanleuvan, PhD – Bacteriophages of the Honey Bee Gut Microbiome

Abstract: Honey bee health is supported by a diverse set of microorganisms that inhabit their digestive track. The bacteria in the honey bee gut have essential roles in the digestion of food and the prevention of disease. Our research group studies the composition and function of the bee microbiome in order to develop better ways to promote bee health. In this talk we will discuss the current state of understanding for the bee microbiome and our recent work in developing methods to treat the bacterial disease Paenibacillus larvae.

Biography: Dr. Van Leuven is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal, Veterinary and Food Sciences at The University of Idaho. He received his PhD in microbial genomics at the University of Montana and performed postdoctoral
research at the University of Idaho. His research program is focused on understanding how microbial interactions influence ecological processes, animal health, and microbial evolution. Laboratory personnel are experts in microbial metagenomic sequencing and culturing, helping us characterize and study the honey bee microbiome.

Gabriela Quinlan, PhD - Honey Bee Colonies as a Sentinel of Landscape-Level Nectar Resources (use of hive scales)

Abstract: One of the primary stressors facing honey bees is insufficient access to good nutrition. In this talk, Gabriela will share her research on honey bee nutrition, which spans from landscape-level floral resources to colony-level nutritional needs, to individual-level foraging decisions. Gabriela will discuss the use of hive scales to monitor honey flows, quantify landscape-level floral resources, and understand environmental drivers of floral availability at broad scales. Gabriela will also discuss seasonal changes to foraging behaviors, how colonies socially regulate the intake of a balanced diet, and how colony-level needs and individual forager physical condition may influence how those needs are met. The talk will conclude with a discussion of how this information can be applied to management for beekeepers and growers.

Biography: Gabriela Quinlan is an NSF-PRFB postdoctoral fellow at Penn State in the Grozinger lab studying honey bee nutrition. She uses a variety of methods, from landscape-level statistical modeling to molecular techniques to understand how various stressors affect bees in order to find practical solutions for beekeepers, growers, and conservationists.

Jacqueline Freeman - Falling in Love with Honey Bees

Abstract: Jacqueline Freeman, an experienced beekeeper and bee steward, illustrates with slides and video what she has learned from many years of respectful observation and interaction. She describes how she developed the practice of preservation beekeeping, based on how honey bees thrive in a natural landscape.

Biography: Jacqueline Freeman is a biodynamic farmer and preservation beekeeper in southwest Washington. She is the author of "What Bees Want: Beekeeping as Nature Intended," with Susan Knilans (2022), and "Song of Increase: Listening
to the Wisdom of Honeybees for Kinder Beekeeping and a Better World “ (2016). Her books have been translated into ten languages and both are Audiobooks.

Speaker Abstracts & Bios
Armando Falcom-Brindis, PhD – Pollination Ecology and Interaction Networks of Wild Bees

Abstract: Wild bees have long been studied given their importance in pollinating both native and cultivated plants. Even though bees are not only the pollinators in natural and modified systems, they are recognized to be efficient pollen vectors given their morphological and behavioral adaptations. In this presentation, we will learn more about the pollination process conducted by native bees, including some extraordinary facts involved. Then we will move forward and talk about community ecology: a case study of the bees from the oases of Baja California. Finally, we will learn about the importance of bee-plant interactions and how we can quantify them using different metrics.

Biography: Armando Falcon-Brindis holds a Ph.D. in Natural Resources, and a M.S. in Environmental Sciences. He received a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering with a major in Animal Science. Dr. Falcon recently became an Assistant Professor at the University of Idaho. He is currently focused on new IPM and pollination projects that will merge multidisciplinary research and extension activities. At the Parma Research and Extension Center, Armando is committed to developing novel projects targeting the entomological needs of several agricultural systems including specialty and seed crops. Previously, he worked as a Research Associate at the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology and participated in many outreach activities including Master Gardener Class, Field Days, insect displays, student training and bug festivals. Before coming to the US, he worked as an Environmental Specialist at the Mexican Petroleum Institute. He has conducted research across different ecosystems: from tropical rain forests to deserts. Such a transition allowed him to establish collaboration with researchers from different backgrounds including agriculture, ecology, and insect conservation.

Anthony Vaudo, PhD – Bee Nutrition in the Landscape

Abstract: Nutrition is recognized as a key factor to address bee declines, but providing appropriate nutrition for bees is challenging in open and modified landscapes. Pollen provides bees their main source of proteins and lipids; however, within natural communities we know surprisingly little about the nutritional value of plants to wild bees. Further, pollen nutrition has not previously been a priority when selecting plants for restoration efforts to support pollinators. We show that consideration of pollen nutritional quality can help explain patterns of interactions among wild bees visiting wildflowers, which sheds new light on the nutritional basis of pollination ecology. These data are practical as well and can directly help inform plans to restore bee habitat, conserve plant species, and design plant lists for bees in agricultural and urban areas but emphasizing nutritional diversity.

Biography: Dr. Vaudo is a pollination ecologist for the USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. He received a MSc from University of Florida, a PhD from Penn State, and continued studying as a postdoc at Penn State, University of Kwazulu-Natal, and University of Nevada Reno. His research focuses on how different bee species forage to obtain and balance their nutrition from diverse plant species, and how this supports biodiversity. He uses this research to understand evolutionary and ecological foundations of bee and flower interactions and to develop restoration practices to support diverse and resilient plant-pollinator communities.

Kelli Cooper – Using iNaturalist to Track and ID Bees

Learn how you can contribute to research on pollinators and their habitats as a Citizen Scientist! This workshop will focus on using the iNaturalist app to report observations of pollinators of all types and their food sources. It will include a chance to practice uploading photos and narrowing down or making identifications.

Biography: Kelli Cooper is the Sustainability Programs Coordinator for the City of Moscow. She oversees the Water Conservation and Climate Action Plans as well as the Public Information and Education programs. She holds two degrees from Washington State University, both in environmental fields. When she is not busy working, she is volunteering with PTA, Booster Club, Girl Scouts, and Cub Scouts or reading a book!

Margarita Lopez-Uribe, PhD – Native Squash Bee Range and Evolution
Title: Honey bee colonies as a sentinel of landscape-level nectar resources (use of hive scales)

Biography: Lorenzo L. Langstroth Early Career Professor - Associate Professor of Entomology. Declines in bee populations worldwide have raised concerns about the environmental and economic consequences of pollination loss in natural and
human-dominated ecosystems. Margarita is interested in understanding how environmental change (e.g. land use, climate) and management (e.g. beekeeping practices) drive changes in population demography and health of wild and managed bee species. Her ultimate goal is to contribute with informed strategies for conservation and restoration of bee populations and the ecosystem services they provide.

Karen Wright, PhD – The Washington Bee Atlas

Abstract: There are at least 600 species of bees in Washington state! Karen Wright will be talking about basic bee biology and the diversity of bees in the PNW and then give an introduction to the new Washington Bee Atlas that was formed in 2023. The WaBA is modeled after the Oregon Bee Atlas and uses much of the  infrastructure that has been successfully implemented by Oregon State Extension. It is a community science group that trains volunteers to collect, euthanize, pin and label bee specimens. They collect all the relevant data through iNaturalist, providing date, location, collector and host plant information. The specimens are identified by the Washington State Department of Agriculture pollinator taxonomist and then deposited at Washington State University’s insect collection. Data is then made public via SCAN and will be used to assess the conservation status of all 600 species of native bees known to occur in Washington.

Biography: Karen Wright was hired February 1st, 2023 by the Washington State Department of Agriculture to develop and manage the Washington Bee Atlas. She got her Master’s degree at Oregon State University in Entomology (working
on true bugs and beetles in hazelnuts) in 1999. Then she moved to New Mexico where she started her career working on native bees. Working for the Sevilleta Long Term Ecological Research Program based out of the University of New Mexico, she started a long-term monitoring program on native bees and wildflower phenology. She took the Bee Course in 2001 to start learning to identify bees and then was mentored by Terry Griswold after that. She developed a collection of over 600 species of bees from central New Mexico that is housed at the University of New Mexico and the long-term study is still ongoing with over 20 years of data. She got her PhD from the University of New Mexico on the Evolution of Diet Breadth in Melissodes bees. After that, she was curator of the insect collection at Texas A&M University for six years until she saw the job listing for the Washington Bee Atlas. She has happily relocated to Yakima, Washington with her dogs and husband.

Steve Cook, PhD – Identifying Pollinators and the Impact of Soil Amendment Treatments on Huckleberry

Abstract: Huckleberry has not been domesticated and its economic contribution comes from wild-collected fruit, oftenon public lands where demand has increased. Observed trends of declining huckleberry abundance have been attributed to encroaching trees and fire suppression that have created dense forested canopies, reducing light needed for huckleberry survival and prolific fruit production. These conditions also impact the insect community (including pollinators) that are associated with this iconic plant. Insect populations (including pollinators) are often inconsistent across years and have a tendency to disperse unless resources are abundant. Therefore, a need to identify specific insect groups such as pollinators associated with huckleberry and determine favorable conditions for these groups exists. Much of our work has concentrated on examining the overall community of insects associated with huckleberry in northern Idaho. We have concentrated on the pollinators, with special emphasis on bees. The work is being conducted  on multiple sites in northern Idaho and we are hoping to expand to additional geographic areas in the Pacific Northwest. In addition, greenhouse trials have been initiated to examine biochar and conifer sawdust/shavings as soil amendments to impact plant health (concentrating on foliar and floral color and chemistry). Initial results of our pollinator community analysis will be presented as well as the initial results from the soil amendment experiments.

Biography: Steve Cook is a Professor of Entomology and Department Head of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Nematology at the University of Idaho in Moscow. After earning his B.S. in Environmental Biology from Heidelberg College, Steve earned his M.S. in Entomology from Texas A&M University and his Ph.D. in Entomology from North Carolina State University. Prior to coming to the University of Idaho in 1999, Dr. Cook was a Research Entomologist for the USDA-Agricultural Research Service where his work focused on management of spongy moth after which he was on
faculty at the University of Oklahoma. His research and teaching emphasize insects in natural systems, primarily forests. Throughout his career, his research has focused on interactions between insects, host plants, and natural enemies. The current emphasis areas of his research lab are to examine: 1) impacts of emerging pests on native tree species and 2) the interaction of native pollinators with native floral resources.

Tuesday Evening
Film Night at the UI Potato Seed Lab, 753 Perimeter Drive, Moscow, ID
Doors open at 6 PM, film begins at 7 PM
Feature Film: The Pollinators
Short Film: Blanket of Attack: Supporting Natural Enemies


Click here to see Susan's booklet on her pollinator research in this area: Increase crop yields by managing pollinator and beneficial insect habitat in the Pacific Northwest: Pollinator handout 2021

This booklet shows some great plant choices for our area! Learn which plants attract the most pollinators. See which plants will bring the most bumblebees or other native bees to your farm.

For now you may want to check out theses pages.


Become a Rural Roots member! We know the pandemic hit a lot of growers and ranchers hard so we have halved our membership prices.

Small Farmers, ranchers and businesses can join for only $45 a year ($60 for larger farms, ranches and businesses; $120 for large businesses or corporations).

Students and those on a budget that want to support small growers, can sign up for our Living Lightly or Student membership at only $18 a year.

Just want to help? Sign up for our Friends of Farmers membership at $30 a year.

Thank you to everyone who participated or visited the Latah County Fair!


Rural Roots at the Latah fair

Here at Rural Root we come from a long line of people who worked the soil. Whether you use a team of horses, a tractor, a drone, or a simple shovel we want to inspire you to think about how to best use the land to grow while making it better for your children.

Grandpa Lee plowing


At Rural Roots we believe ALL farmers should be treated with dignity and respect. Farmers often toil alone and receive little support. Please check out some of these organizations that help farmers. You are not alone.


To see previous lectures: For Rural Roots YouTube channel click here.


See what ups with us!

july, 2024

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