Mr. Hanlin manages the controlled insect pollination program at the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station (NCRPIS). He recommends to curatorial staff and other cooperators the most appropriate insects to utilize for each specific crop and directs support staff in the proper placement and management of pollinating insects. The primary pollinator used at NCRPIS is honey bees; a large amount of Mr. Hanlin’s time is spent producing queens and the “nucleus” hives which are placed into individual cages for plant pollination. Mr. Hanlin purchases and manages several other pollinators including Osmia bees (hornfaced and blue orchard bees) and bumble bees. He arranges for the purchasing and assists the entomology technician with the incubation and distribution of alfalfa leaf cutter bees, house flies and blue bottle flies. He also directs support staff in the building of insect domiciles and other equipment which is used for the management of insect pollinators and pollination activities. Mr. Hanlin conducts insect pollination studies in cooperation with curatorial staff and other USDA researchers to determine the most appropriate pollinator to use in a specific situation. He assists the entomology technician and the curatorial staff in the identification of insect specimens found in seed samples or increase plots and provides control recommendations.
Because of the diversity of germplasm maintained at the station, Mr. Hanlin continually researches the use of alternative insect pollinators or pollinator handling techniques in conjunction with curatorial staff and the entomology technician in order to improve the seed quality and quantity produced in germplasm increases. Of special concern is how easy it is to obtain or manage a particular insect, and if the insect will be efficient at pollinating in a caged environment.