Management by beekeepers is of utmost importance for the health and survival of honey bee colonies. Beekeeping management practices vary from low to high intervention regarding the use of chemicals, hive manipulations, and supplemental feeding of colonies. In this study, we use quantitative data from the Bee Informed Partnership’s national survey to investigate drivers of management practices among beekeepers in the United States. This is the first study to quantitatively examine these variables to objectively describe the management practices among different groups of beekeepers in the United States. We hypothesized that management practices and goals among beekeepers are different based on the beekeeper’s philosophy (as determined by their willingness to use chemicals to control pests and pathogens) and the size of the beekeeping operation. Using a multiple factor analysis, we determined that beekeepers use a continuum of management practices. However, we found that beekeepers’ willingness to use in-hive chemicals and the number of colonies in their operation are non-randomly associated with other aspects of beekeeping management practices. Specifically, the size of the beekeeping operation was associated with beekeepers’ choices of in-hive chemicals, while beekeepers’ philosophy was most strongly associated with choices of in-hive chemicals and beekeeping goals. Our results will facilitate the development of decision-making tools for beekeepers to choose management practices that are appropriate for the size of their operations and their beekeeping philosophy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science