Perceptions of honey bee management information sources among backyard and sideliner beekeepers in the United States

Jesse M. Engebretson, Kristen C. Nelson, Nathalie Steinhauer, Karen Rennich, Marla Spivak, Dennis vanEngelsdorp

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In recent decades, there has been an increase in people learning about and practicing beekeeping in rural, peri-urban and urban across the United States. Yet, much recent honey bee research focuses on the biotic (e.g., mites and viruses) and abiotic (e.g., pesticides and management practices) factors contributing to colony loss. However, beekeepers themselves play an essential role in stewarding healthy and productive colonies. This study focuses on backyard and sideliner beekeepers who responded to an annual online survey distributed in the U.S. (n = 2155) in 2018. This paper investigates beekeepers' concerns, and their use and perception of honey bee management information sources. We found survey respondents to be a relatively homogeneous group. Our findings suggest beekeepers’ primary concerns relate to biotic and abiotic drivers of colony loss and the socio-political aspects of honey bee management. Also, beekeepers use, perceive as useful, and trust different types of information in consistent ways. For example, networks developed in beekeeping club interactions with beekeeping scientists are often used, viewed as useful, and highly trusted. Thus, information distribution through such channels may increase the likelihood of impactful and resonant communication exchanges among researchers, educators, and beekeepers, perhaps leading to the more widespread use of Best Management Practices that address risk factors to mitigate future colony loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-197
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the USDA NIFA Award Writing-editing & revisions #20166800424832. Dr. Kristen C. Nelson's research is supported in part by NIFA McIntire-Stennis MAES MIN 42–069.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022


  • Colony health
  • Concerns
  • Honey bees
  • Trust/use of information


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